What it means: That even with Jesus and The King on their side, the Seattle Mariners still don't quite match up. The Yankees got this weekend series off to a good start with a 6-2 victory, getting home runs from both halves of their erstwhile DH platoon, and a solid performance out of their No. 2 starter.
Hiro-ic: In accordance with his pattern this season, Hiroki Kuroda followed up a poor performance last week in Kansas City with a good showing tonight, even with less-than-impeccable control. Kuroda worked seven innings, allowing six hits and two runs -- including an embarrassing, but not damaging, solo homer to a certain former Yankees prospect (see below). Of Kuroda's 105 pitches, only 59 were strikes, but the ones he threw were good enough against the Mariners.
Raul-ing up the score: Raul Ibanez's three-run home run in the sixth inning accounted for three times the total runs allowed by Felix Hernandez in his previous three starts at the new Yankee Stadium. Ibanez's line shot into the right-field seats, on a first-pitch fastball, gave the Yankees a 4-2 lead.
Jones makes his bones: Pinch-hitting for Eric Chavez in the eighth, Andruw Jones crushed a 1-1 pitch from Steve Delabar, who was brought in specifically to face him, into the visiting bullpen with Nick Swisher aboard to bust the game open, 6-2.
Back on the horse: In his first appearance since blowing the save the other night against the Rays, David Robertson came in to get the final two outs in a non-save situation.
The King is dead: Hernandez was more than a King at Yankee Stadium 3.0; he was a tyrant. Coming in, he had won all three of his previous starts here, allowing just one run over 24 innings for a 0.38 ERA. But the Yankees were on him all night, scoring a first-inning run and running their way out of what might have been a big fourth inning when Alex Rodriguez was thrown out at the plate. The 11 hits King Felix allowed tonight are as many as he had allowed in all three games he had pitched here.
Second coming: The crowd was pretty apathetic about the return of Jesus Montero; that is, until Montero hit a Kuroda slider the other way, in the right-field seats, for a solo homer in the sixth that temporarily gave Seattle a 2-1 lead. That brought the boo-birds out, as well as the obligatory chants for the ball to be thrown back. Which, of course, it was.
Stay-Rod: Under the urging of third-base coach Rob Thomson, A-Rod attempted to score on Mark Teixeira's looping single to left in the fourth inning, but was easily gunned down at the plate by Seattle left-fielder Mike Carp. It looked like an important play at the time, but turned out to be just a footnote to the game.
Binder overload: I realize Joe Girardi didn't have Rafael Soriano , but was it really necessary to use three pitchers (Clay Rapada, Cory Wade and Boone Logan) to get three outs in the eighth inning?
What's coming: Mike Mazzeo and I will be prowling the postgame clubhouse for tidbits. I'm considering a column on The King of Siam, Ibanez, unless I come up with a better idea.
Tomorrow, tomorrow: Another Yankees castoff, Hector Noesi, gets a chance to embarrass his old club on Saturday afternoon. Phil Hughes (2-4, 6.67) faces Noesi (2-3, 6.30), first pitch at 4:05 p.m.