Yes, Felix Hernandez is starting tonight - and so is Matt Tuiasosopo, the red-hot hitter who's forced his way into Daren Brown's lineup.
"You drive in seven runs in two games, I'll find a place for you," Brown said.
Tonight, Tui's in left field, which means Michael Saunders is sitting. For those wondering why Brown - like Don Wakamatsu before him - keeps putting Jose Lopez at cleanup, the answer is the same now as then.
The Mariners don't have a legitimate No. 4 hitter.
Behind Ichiro and Chone Figgins, Brown wants Russell Branyan up - in part because so many teams now use a dramatic defense infield shift against him. In doing so, they all but give up making a double play on any ground ball.
As for Mr. Hernandez - a 10-game loser this year - he's 4-3 lifetime against New York, but has thrown three consecutive complete games vs. the Yankees. In those games, Felix is 3-0 with an 0.67 earned run average.
- Ichiro singled up the middle on the second pitch of the game, a homage to the man he paid his respects to on yesterday's off-day - Wee Willie Keeler. Keeler, who's approach was to 'hit them where they ain't' played from 1892-1910 and Ichiro was impressed enough by Keeler's career that yesterday he visited Keeler's grave site, about 30 minutes outside of New York city. Chone Figgins walked. Ichiro and Figgins pulled a double steal, and Russell Branyan homered, his 17th. In the first: Seattle 3, New York 0.
- Casey Kotchman gave Felix a 4-0 lead when he singled home Franklin Gutierrez, who set up the run by stealing second after his two-out single. In the third: Seattle 4, New York 0.
- Add on, baby! Tuiasosopo singled and - on a hit-and-run - Wilson dumped a little bloop single into right field. Ichiro forced Wilson, but Tui scored and the Mariners tacked on another run. In the fourth: Seattle 5, New York 0.
- Felix is pitching like a man who knows how to handle a lead - and the Yankees. Derek Jeter's fourth-inning double is New York's only hit. This is one of those games when the Mariners offense gives Hernandez run suppport. When that happens, the Mariners win.
- Robinson Cano walked and Nick Swisher singled him to second base. Curtis Granderson forced Swisher, getting Cano to third. Francisco Cervelli walked to load 'em up. Ramiro Pena struck out on three pitches. Bre Gardner struck out on five pitches. That's reaching back, folks, for a little extra. In the fifth: Seattle 5, New York 0.
- Apologies, folks, for the blog not allowing comments. Internet problems in New York devoured several innings of work, and somehow ate the comment bar. If you'd like, comment on the game thread on the entry below - on Tyson Gilles.
- Two outs into the sixth, on an 0-1 pitch, Branyan homered again. That's his second tonight, his 18th of the year. This is Branyan's 14th career multi-home run game - his first as a Mariner. In the sixth: Seattle 6, New York 0.
- Mr. Brown faces an intriguing question here - should he let Felix try for a fourth consecutive complete-game win vs. New York? The Mariners front office wants its staff ace to stay away from huge pitch counts, and Felix had thrown 101 pitches through seven, then used 16 more to get through the eighth. One inning from a shutout win, Felix's pitch count is 117.
- Garrett Olson out to work the ninth for Seattle. He preserves the shutout. It's a final: Seattle 6, New York 0.