Tex's slam helps Yanks, Pineda topple Felix
SEATTLE -- Michael Pineda shut down his former Mariners teammates with a strong performance Monday as the Yankees drubbed Felix Hernandez in a 7-2 win in the series opener at Safeco Field.
Pineda, an All-Star as a rookie with the Mariners in 2011 before being traded to the Yankees, improved to 7-2 with a 3.33 ERA as he held Seattle to two runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts in six-plus innings.
"It's a great game for me today," Pineda said. "My first year in the Majors, I stayed around Felix and learned a lot from him. Tonight, pitching vs. him, it's a really good game."
Hernandez breezed through three perfect innings on 21 pitches before the wheels came off with seven runs on six hits and five walks in the fourth and fifth frames, with Mark Teixeira's grand slam capping a five-run fifth. The Mariners ace fell to 8-2 and his ERA rose from 1.91 to 2.63 in his 4 2/3-inning outing, his shortest stint of the season.
"I don't know what happened," Hernandez said after suffering his first loss to the Yankees since 2012. "I just lost my command and fell behind a lot of times. A lot of walks killed me. I made a lot of mistakes."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
King Felix receives a Tex message: Teixeira expected it to be "pretty tough" for the Yankees to break through against Hernandez, but he knows from personal experience that it can be done. Teixeira's fifth-inning grand slam marked his sixth career home run off Hernandez, his 20th hit in 66 career at-bats (.303) vs. the stud right-hander. More >
"I think it's a lot of luck. He's a great pitcher," Teixeira said. "I've faced him so much, there's very few guys that for 10-plus years you face on a regular basis. He's one of them. I've just gotten a couple good pitches to hit."
There's a roof, right? Hernandez rolled through three innings until rain started falling, which isn't unusual in Seattle. What was unusual is Safeco Field's retractable roof didn't get closed before the mound became a little muddy in the fourth, which seemed to throw Hernandez off his rhythm. As Hernandez continually stomped his feet and tried to clear his cleats, the King lost his normal pinpoint control. He walked two in a two-run fourth and three more in the five-run fifth after throwing 18 strikes in 21 pitches in the first three frames. The five walks were a season high for Hernandez, who'd issued just 15 free passes in his first 73 2/3 innings, but both he and manager Lloyd McClendon insisted the mound wasn't the issue. More >
"I was just kicking dirt out of my cleats," Hernandez said. "But it's not that. It was just one of those days. It was on me."
Pineda dominates in return: Pineda credited Hernandez for helping him acclimate to life in the big leagues during his 2011 rookie season, everything from how to dress to finding cabs to Safeco Field. The pupil outdueled the master on Monday, as Pineda faced the Mariners for the first time and continued to miss bats in a strong performance. Pineda was traded to the Yankees with right-hander Jose Campos in January 2012 for catcher Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi. More >
"I think he handled it pretty well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I always worry about those type of things when guys come back to face their old team for the first time, but I think he handled it really well."
Not a bad first impression: Mariners right-hander Mayckol Guiape found out Monday at 11 a.m. that he was being called up from Triple-A Tacoma and nine hours later he made his Major League debut and threw 2 1/3 perfect innings in relief of Hernandez. The 24-year-old replaced the Mariners ace with two out and a man on second in the fifth inning and quickly got out of that jam, then set down the Yankees in order in the sixth and seventh while striking out two in a tidy 27-pitch performance. More >
"The mound was fine. He just didn't have his stuff tonight. He's human, I guess. He just lost it. He just didn't have it." -- McClendon on the midgame meltdown by Hernandez.
"The way Michael was pitching, we didn't know how many we needed. Anytime you can score seven runs off Felix Hernandez, you take it. It doesn't happen very much. That was a good team effort today. We just played really good ball." -- Teixeira.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Hernandez's start was his shortest since getting knocked out after 4 2/3 innings in Toronto last Sept. 23. The seven earned runs were the most he's allowed since giving up eight to the Rangers on Aug. 28, 2013.
Yankees: CC Sabathia will attempt to snap his two-start losing streak as the Yankees play the second game of their three-game set with the Mariners at 10:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Safeco Field. Sabathia served up two homers in his last effort on Thursday at Oakland, firing four scoreless innings before running into trouble and permitting five earned runs over six frames.
Mariners: Mike Montgomery, a 25-year-old lefty acquired from the Rays for Erasmo Ramirez in March, will make his MLB debut in Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. PT game against the Yankees. Montgomery, a 2008 first-round Draft pick of the Royals, was 4-3 with a 3.74 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Tacoma. He's taking the rotation spot of James Paxton, who is on the DL with a strained finger tendon.
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