King Felix Conquers Yanks; Seattle Wins, 1-0
By Howard Goldin
BRONX, NEW YORK, August 5- Yankee Stadium---Each of Saturday afternoon’s two starting pitchers, Hiroki Kuroda and Felix Hernandez, began the game as winners of his last five decisions. Thus, many of the 47,067 in attendance expected to see a competitive pitching duel.
Those who wanted to see outstanding pitching were not disappointed. The four Yankees hurlers and Hernandez for the Mariners lived up to billing. Kuroda gave up only a single run in 6.1 innings on the mound. John Jaso led off the third with a double to right. With two men out, Jaso scored the only run of the game on a single by Mike Carp.
Seattle skipper Eric Wedge commented, “That was a quality at bat.”
The three relievers, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Clay Rapada, of the Yankees kept the game close by blanking the Mariners on one hit in 2.2 innings.
The one run was sufficient to claim the victory as Hernandez, the starter for Seattle pitched a masterpiece. The native of Venezuela lived up to his moniker ‘King” by his complete mastery over Yankees batters.
The 26-year old earned his 10th win of the year by pitching his third complete game while giving up only two hits. The game on Saturday was the fifth this season in which he left the contest without yielding a run. Of that accomplishment, he stated, “It’s always special as a pitcher when you throw a shutout.”
The first of the two hits off Hernandez was a two-out double by Robinson Cano in the first. The game was the 32nd in the last 35 during which Cano hit successfully. Cano’s next home run, his 25th, will rank him as one of four second basemen who have reached the mark of 30 doubles and 25 homers in four straight seasons.
Since Cano was the only Yankee to reach second base, Joe Girardi remarked, “We had only one chance today; that’s how good he [Hernandez] was.”
The second Yankee hit was a hard grounder by Ichiro Suzuki that first baseman Mike Carp could not handle. The single increased Suzuki’s hitting streak to 11 games. He established a Yankees record of the longest hitting streak in which a batter has only one hit per game (11). He trails Don Slaught by only one game for the longest hitting streak to begin a career with the Yankees.
Hernandez walked two batters during the game. Each walk came with two out. After the game, Hernandez groused, “I hate two out walks.”
In six of the nine frames, Hernandez faced only the requisite three batters. Both managers were astounded by Hernandez.
Girardi said, “Our pitching was great, unfortunately, Felix was a little better. He was great today. He was never in a bad count.”
Wedge had even greater superlatives for his starter, “What you saw today, it doesn’t get any better. That was probably the most impressive start I’ve ever seen as a manager. It can’t be any better than that.”
Hernandez is truly a king in the current Yankee Stadium. In five starts, he is 4-1 with a miniscule ERA of 1.25.
Interestingly, for the second straight day, a native of Venezuela, Freddy Garcia (4-5) will face a native of Japan, Hisashi Iwakuma (2-2). The rubber game of the three game set with begin shortly after 1 p.m.