When it comes to finding a pitcher capable of stopping the latest Seattle losing streak - five games in a row - there's no one better than tonight's starter, Felix Hernandez.
Of course his last time out, he went seven innings - 112 pitches - and left having allowede only two runs, and the Mariners proceeded to lose to Kansas City, 6-4.
Figure Felix will hold his own against the Yankees, which means winning or losing comes down to run support and whether the Mariners can, like, score behind him.
Russell Branyan has hit three home runs against Javier Vazquez in his career, so his at-bats may be the ones Vazquez tries to pitch around.
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It's Felix vs. Vazquez. We're off.
- Mr. Hernandez gave up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner, but with one out and Mark Texeira at the plate, Rob Johnson threw Garnder out trying to steal. Good thing - Texeira then singled. Alex Rodriguez popped up, to much applause.
- After striking out the first two Mariners he faced, Vazquez - as expected - walked Branyan rather than risk damage. Branyan took second base on a wild pitch, Jose Lopez popped out.
- With one out, Justin Smoak's first at-bat was a three-pitch strikeout, with Vazquez fooling him on a two-strike changeup. Through two: No score.
- First-time All-Star Nick Swisher homered, his 15th. In the third: New York 1, Seattle 0.
- A-Rod and Robinson Cano singled and with two outs were on second and third base. Felix got a ground ball from Francisco Cervelli and the Yankees are still within range for the Mariners offense. In the fourth: New York 1, Seattle 0.
- Smoak's second at-bat? A five-pitch strikeout. For those who haven't heard, Cliff Lee pitched a complete game for Texas tonight - and lost, 6-1.
- Vazquez began the sixth inning having thrown an economical 70 pitches and allowing only one base-runner, that on a first-inning walk. Rob Johnson grounded out. Jack Wilson struck out. Ichiro singled off Vazquez's glove, extending his hitting streak to 12 consecutive games. Chone Figgins flied out, but Vazquez threw 23 pitches in the inning. After six: New York 1, Seattle 0.
- Felix has pitched seven innings, thrown 89 pitches and allowed one run. That one run may be enough to beat him.
- Lopez and Franklin Gutierrez singled with one out to give Smoak his first at-bat with a runner in scoring position as a Mariner. He struck out, on three pitches, all off-speed. Michael Saunders walked, loading 'em up. Pinch-hitting for Johnson, Milton Bradley lined out. After seven: New York 1, Seattle 0.
- Texeira singled with two outs and A-Rod walked. Cano struck out. In the eighth: New York 1, Seattle 0.
- Now pitching for New York: Joba Chamberlain. Jack Wilson singled. Ichiro forced Wilson. Figgins singled Ichiro to second base. Both men advanced on a wild pitch. Branyan was intentionally walked, loading 'em up. Lopez homered. In the eighth: Seattle 4, New York 1.
- Felix takes the mound in the ninth, dhacving thrown 104 pitches but with a three run lead. Curtis Granderson doubled. With one out, pinch-hitter Derek Jeter singled Granderson to third on Hernandez's 114th pitch. Pinch-hitter Jorge Posada struck out on pitch No. 121. On his 127th pitch,Felix struck out Gardner. It's a final: Seattle 4, New York 1.