Yanks give ‘King Felix’ a royal pain
The Yankees got tired of Felix Hernandez pushing them around the past few years and shoved him out of Monday night’s 9-3 victory over the Mariners after six innings. “King Felix” was little more than a pawn this time against the Yankees, who finally broke out of a trip-long slump.
Even though they won Sunday at Anaheim, the Yankees’ victory was due largely to an error, not clutch hitting. The Yankees’ first run Monday night was on an infield out, which extended their streak of hitless at-bats with runners in scoring position to 13 over five games.
That ended with a 3-for-3 performance under those conditions in the third inning when they hung a five-spot on Hernandez, who has not been as dominant against the Yankees this year as in the past. In four starts against the Yankees over the 2009 and ’10 seasons, Hernandez was 4-0 with a 0.51 ERA. This year in three starts against them, he is 1-1 with a 4.95 ERA.
The Yankees banged him around for six runs and nine hits in six innings. The assault included long home runs by Mark Teixeira and Chris Dickerson. They then went to work on the Seattle bullpen with a three-run seventh begun by rookie catcher Austin Romine’s first major-league hit, a single to right.
The Yankees eventually filled the bases and watched Robinson Cano clean them with his second double of the game. That improved Cano’s record with the bags drunk this year to .471 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs and 27 RBI in 17 at-bats. Cheers!
I have said in recent weeks that Cano is every bit a Most Valuable Player Award candidate as teammate Curtis Granderson, and the second baseman continues to prove it. Granderson, whose two-run home run Sunday was his only hit in 13 at-bats in the Anaheim swing, seemed to be working out of a slump with two hits.
Phil Hughes also broke out of a three-start slump (0-1, 8.79 ERA) with six strong innings in which he allowed one run, five hits and three walks with three strikeouts. He’ll get another start, too, since manager Joe Girardi is sticking with the six-man rotation for at least one more turn and very likely for the remainder of the regular season.
The Yankees turned a pair of double plays in the infield, Brett Gardner made his seemingly daily great running catch in left field and Nick Swisher playing first base pulled off some good scoops as if he were at the position the entire year.
All this work combined to push the Yankees’ lead in the American League East to four games over the Red Sox, who were not scheduled and lost yet another half-game in the AL wild card standings to the Rays, who won their fifth straight game and trail Boston by only three games. There is a race going on in this division after all.