The seven runs that the Yankees scored against Felix Hernandez on Monday night led to a 7-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners in the first game of the series. This was unexpected as the Yankees only scored seven runs combined in the final three games of the series against the Athletics in Oakland. Part of the reason the Yankees scored so many runs off of King Felix was that he allowed a season-high five walks.
It was a positive turn of events for the Yankees against King Felix since from the 2012 through the 2014 season he had a 2.09 ERA in 43 innings (six starts). Hernandez, whose ERA is now 2.63, came into the game with an outstanding 1.91 ERA and had also come into the game having allowed two runs or fewer in seven of his previous eight starts.
The Yankees were able to break their offensive slump against the Mariners’ longtime ace as a result of scoring two runs in the fourth and five in the fifth. Mark Teixeira, who could be on his way to his ninth 30 homer and 100 RBI season, drove in four of the team’s seven runs.
Brett Gardner scored the team’s first run of the fourth inning after Felix Hernandez made a wild pitch. Brian McCann would come to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs and a chance to drive in a few runs, but he hit into a double play that scored Chase Headley.
However, the offense made up for the lack of runs the next inning. A sac fly by Chase Headley scored Stephen Drew to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Mark Teixeira hit a grand slam that scored Ramon Flores, Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez later in the inning that gave the Yankees valuable insurance runs.
That was Teixeira 15th homer and 39th RBI, his sixth homer off of Hernandez and his ninth career grand slam. Teixeira is having a much better season than anyone predicted and is a valuable bat in the middle of the lineup. Teixeira has proven to be much healthier than he was last season.
“I’m just very thankful,” Teixeira said. “I’m very thankful for the health and I just hope that continues. The first two months have been so far, so good. I want to continue it.” If he can end the season with the .566 slugging percentage that he has now it would be the second highest of his career. That would be impressive since he is 35 and in his 13 season.
Michael Pineda (7-2, 3.33 ERA, 76 strikeouts) had his second consecutive excellent start and pitched like the ace of the staff that he is. His slider, changeup and fastball were working, which led to him striking out nine and only allowing two runs in six innings. This was the seventh time this season that he has allowed two runs or fewer during a start.
Alex Rodriguez was 1-3 and he is now even closer to having 3,000 hits. His is now on an 11-game hitting streak and only needs 13 more hits to tie Roberto Clemente for 3,000 hits. He will likely get hit No. 3,000 in the series against the Philadelphia Phillies from June 22-24 or in the series in Houston against the Astros from June 25-28.
In the second game of the series against the Mariners, CC Sabathia (2-7, 5.67 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees and Mike Montgomery will get the start for Seattle. Montgomery will be making his major-league debut tonight.