As home runs go, Jesus Montero's was a reminder to the New York Yankees just what they'd given up in trade to the Seattle Mariners.
The one Raul Ibanez hit against Felix Hernandez? It was just more evidence the old guy can still get it done, and his three-run shot brought New York from behind for a 6-2 victory tonight.
Hernandez wasn't as dominant as he can be, allowing two walks and 11 hits in 6 2/3 innings, but manager Eric Wedge put that in perspective.
“Maybe he wasn’t quite as sharp as we’ve seen Felix, but you have to remember, he was within a pitch in the sixth inning of taking a 2-1 lead into the seventh,” Wedge said.
Felix got to the bottom of the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead on homers by Dustin Ackley and Montero, with Montero's snapping a tie game in the top of the sixth. When the Yankees rallied with two outs in the inning, Hernandez was confronted with old friend and former teammate Ibanez.
“I started him each at-bat with a sinker but that pitch didn’t sink. That’s the one pitch tonight I want back," Hernandez said.“That one didn't sink, wasn't away. It stayed over the midle.
"One pitch, game over."
What beat the Mariners, Wedge said, were two innings filled with opportunity, none of them realized.
“One inning we had runners at first and second base, no one out, the other we had the bases loaded with one out, and we didn’t score either time,” Wedge said. “You get a run in each of those, different game.”
In the second inning, the Mariners used a Kyle Seager single and walk to John Jaso to create a threat, but Hiroki Kuroda retired Justin Smoak, Mike Carp and Michael Saunders without allowing the runners to advance.
“I felt better tonight,” said Smoak, who had three hits. “But that first at-bat, I had a fastball over the plate, and I’ve got to do more with that.”
Again in the fifth, the Mariners rallied – singles by Smoak and Saunders, a walk to Ackley – this time with one out. Kuroda struck out Brendan Ryan, then got No. 3 hitter Icihro Suzuki to roll a ball to third base.