When Felix Hernandez had a six-pitch first inning and had only thrown 21 pitches after recording nine outs, most people watching last night's game were thinking his outing would be quick, painless (for him) and a disaster for the Yankees. When Mariners' manager Lloyd McClendon walked out of the home dugout to take the ball from his ace, who by that point, in the fifth inning, had surrendered seven runs to the Yankees, most people watching the game couldn't believe what they were seeing. The 2015 Yankees are confounding. They'll sweep the best team in the American League, lose three out of four to the worst and just when you think they can't get any more confusing, they'll score seven runs on King Felix.
This is how it happened (Just in case you went to bed early).
Brett Gardner and Chase Headley hit back-to-back singles to start the fourth inning. Gardner advanced to third on Headley's single. When Alex Rodriguez was up to bat, Hernandez threw a wild pitch and Gardner scored. Hernandez ended up walking both A-Rod and Mark Teixeira to load the bases. Brian McCann hit into a double play but Headley scored from third to make it 2-0. Carlos Beltran walked to load the bases again but Didi Gregorius grounded out to end the inning.
Two runs were nice, but the Yankees could have - and should have - done a lot more damage because they had Hernandez on the ropes a couple of times in the fourth, and they didn't.
After Michael Pineda struck out three and surrendered a single in the bottom of the fourth, King Felix came back out.
The fifth inning started off with a walk to Stephen Drew which at the time people thought was pretty hilarious because Drew is terrible and King Felix is not.
Next Roman Flores hit a single on a ball low in the zone and over the plate:
Brett Gardner walked - which was Hernandez's fifth free pass of the night - to load the bases. Headley hit a sacrifice fly to score Drew and put the Yankees up 3-0. A-Rod singled to load the bases, yet again, and this time, the Yankees, or more specifically, Mark Teixeira, finally took advantage.
As you can see from the graph above, Tex was not going after pitches out of the zone, and when Hernandez threw a 90 m.p.h. fastball in the zone, Tex took it out of the park for a grand slam. (Teixeira has six career home runs against Hernandez.)
The Yankees were up 7-0, the crowd in Safeco was in shock, and the people watching at home also couldn't believe what they were seeing.
Hernandez was able to get McCann swinging for the second out of the inning, and it looked like he'd be able to at least make the walk back to the dugout with his teammates, but Beltran spoiled it by hitting a double on another 90 m.p.h. fastball to chase him out of the game.
All in all, the Yankees tagged King Felix for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. He gave up six hits, walked five and struck out four.
Out of the six hits the Yankees were able to get off Hernandez, five of them were off his fastball. One came on a changeup.
[Heat maps, graphs and numbers courtesy of Brooks Baseball and ESPN Stats and Info]