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Monday, June 2, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Mariners 10, Yankees 2

By Wallace Matthews

 

NEW YORK -- The Seattle Mariners completed a series sweep of the Yankees with their 10-2 win at the Stadium tonight.

OK, so it took them five weeks to do it -- they won the first two games on April 29 and May 1, with the middle game being rained out and tonight the makeup game -- but a sweep is a sweep, a loss is a loss and a mess is a mess.

This one was all three rolled into one, a game in which the Yankees had the incomparable King Felix Hernandez on the ropes in the fourth inning, only to let him off the hook, and in which their defense and a shocking lapse in fundamentals by two veterans -- Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki -- conspired for an unsightly and embarrassing loss, the Yankees' third in their past four games.

The King is human: Truly, the Yankees had one chance -- in the fourth inning -- to win this game and let it slip away. Hernandez allowed five hits in the inning, but the Yankees only came away with two runs. And after that inning, Hernandez retired the final nine Yankees he faced. He allowed eight hits over seven innings but limited the damage enough to give his team's offense a chance to win it, which they did.

Seventh hell: The wheels came off in the seventh inning, when David Phelps surrendered a leadoff double by Mike Zunino into the left-field corner and walked Dustin Ackley, giving the M's first and second with none out.

He compounded his problem when he fielded Endy Chavez's bunt and tried to nail the lead runner, but his throw was a tick late and everyone was safe (a Yankees challenge was rejected). The next hitter, Brad Miller, singled in two runs, which ended Phelps' night after six-plus innings. He was relieved by Matt Thornton, and after a sacrifice by James Jones, Michael Saunders' shot up the first-base line scooted under Kelly Johnson's glove -- it was ruled a hit -- and scored two more to give Seattle, and Hernandez, a 6-2 lead. All six runs were charged to Phelps.

Ace in the hole: The M's tacked on four more runs in the ninth off Alfredo Aceves, who allowed a solo home run to Saunders, a single to Cano, another single to Smoak (which probably would've been an out if the Yankees weren't in a shift) and a huge three-run homer to Kyle Seager, who had himself a night: two triples, a double and that home run, his ninth of the season.

All kinds of strange: The Yankees tied the game in a bizarre fourth inning in which they collected five hits, including a double, but only came up with two runs. With one out, Brian McCann singled, and Yangervis Solarte followed with a double, but the heavy-legged McCann had to stop at third. After Alfonso Soriano struck out, Suzuki's smash up the middle ricocheted off Hernandez's left foot and went for an infield hit that scored both runners. Brian Roberts singled, and then Kelly Johnson lined a smash off shortstop Miller's glove. This should have loaded the bases, except that Ichiro overran the bag at third and was nailed when Miller threw behind him to Seager to end the inning.

Triple-double: Mariners 3B Seager had one triple coming into the game -- and had three going out, though both of his three-baggers Monday were slightly tainted.

Ackley hit one to the base of the left-center field wall in the second inning and turned what should have been a double into a triple when Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner failed to come up with the ball.

Then, in the fourth, his pop fly between Gardner and Jeter, right on the foul line in short-left field, went for three bases when, after popping out of a sliding Gardner's glove, it was retrieved in rather leisurely fashion by Jeter, who apparently thought the ball was foul (Phelps could be seen on the TV monitor screaming for Jeter to "throw the ball in!"). Seager scored both times, the first on Mike Zunino's single and the second on an infield groundout.

Pickoff artist: Phelps helped himself out with two big pickoffs. He caught Cano napping off first in the third inning (a very popular development with the crowd) and Ackley in the fourth. Phelps led the Yankees with three pickoffs in 2013, so he's already well on his way to obliterating that mark.

Tomorrow: Back to our regularly scheduled programming, as the Oakland Athletics come in for a three-game series.

Pitching matchups: Hiroki Kuroda (4-3, 4.57) vs. LHP Scott Kazmir (6-2, 2.36), Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.; Vidal Nuno (1-2, 5.48) vs. RHP Jesse Chavez (4-3, 2.78), Wednesday at 7:05 p.m., and Masahiro Tanaka (8-1, 2.06) vs. LHP Drew Pomeranz (5-2, 2.37) Thursday at 1:05 p.m.