NEW YORK — A bizarre turn of events threatened to dampen Robinson Cano’s return. His Mariner teammates made sure it didn’t happen.
Kyle Seager tied a club record with four extra-base hits and Felix Hernandez pitched seven quality innings to give the Mariners a 10-2 victory at Yankee Stadium on Monday night. The game, which was a makeup for the rainout between the teams in New York on April 30, was the Mariners’ third consecutive victory.
Cano made a quiet return after a four-game absence from an ailing left thumb, going 1 for 3 with two walks. Yankee starter David Phelps (1-3) roundly avoided Cano at the plate. He walked Cano on a combined nine pitches in his first two at-bats and picked him off first base in the third inning. Cano also singled and grounded out twice.
“(The thumb) feels good,” said Cano. “You always are at first (cautious). You don’t want to swing too hard or swing too crazy to hurt yourself more.
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“After my first hit, in my third at-bat, I was good.”
Hernandez (8-1) was brilliant again in his fifth consecutive win, allowing eight hits and two earned runs, while striking out eight with no walks.
“Everything (is working),” said Hernandez “My pitches have been working, my mechanics (are working), I’m more consistent, and we’re scoring a lot of runs.”
Seager went 4 for 5 with two triples, a double, and a three-run home run tying Adrian Beltre’s club record for extra base-hits on July 6, 2007.
“Any time you get (Hernandez) some runs, you’re good,” said Seager. “You feel really good about that.”
Hernandez and the bats outweighed a bizarre and potentially momentum-changing fourth inning.
In the top of the fourth, Seager flared a ball along the left-field line. Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner slid, batting the ball into the arms of Derek Jeter, who was standing in foul territory and couldn’t catch it. Jeter jogged after the ball nonchalantly, thinking it was foul while Seager kept running. The play was ruled a triple. Seager later scored on Dustin Ackley’s ground out to second, giving the Mariners a 2-0 lead.
“I took off running, I saw (Gardner) sliding and I heard the ump say ‘fair ball,’” said Seager. “I kept running, basically.”
“Yeah, it was kind of an odd play for me,” said Jeter. “Because I was playing in at third for a bunt and ended up going back for a pop-up. The pop-up started going foul so I was running in foul territory then came back, so it never even crossed my mind that it was fair.”
Hernandez, who weathered leadoff singles by the Yankees in the second and third innings, played a part in the inning’s other strange incident.
With runners on second and third after a single by Brian McCann and a double by Yangervis Solarte, Ichiro smacked a hard grounder to Hernandez’s right. The pitcher, at the crest of his motion, kicked the ball with his extended left foot. Shortstop Brad Miller tried to barehand the rolling ball but couldn’t grab it, and both runners scored to tie the score at 2-2.
“I shouldn’t have gone for it,” said Hernandez, shaking his head.
Miller drove in Mike Zunino and Ackley with the go-ahead runs in the seventh, making it 4-2. Michael Saunders (homer, three runs batted in) followed with a two-run single, driving in Miller and Endy Chavez, and the rout was on.
The Mariners begin a two-game series at Atlanta on Tuesday and then a four-game series at Tampa Bay on Friday.