With all of the fresh faces on the Mariners' roster, there is plenty of uncertainty from day to day. Manager Eric Wedge isn't afraid to...

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With all of the fresh faces on the Mariners’ roster, there is plenty of uncertainty from day to day.

Manager Eric Wedge isn’t afraid to shuffle his batting order and give his young players an opportunity to play through unfamiliar situations, and he moved third baseman Kyle Seager up to the No. 2 spot in the order Monday night against the Yankees.

The one constant had been staff ace Felix Hernandez. After winning his last three starts and six of his last eight, the right-hander took the mound against New York with the King’s Court drowning out the strong contingent of Yankees fans.

It looked like it would be another dominant outing early on, but Hernandez’s struggles in the fourth inning were as unfamiliar to the fans at Safeco Field as many of the faces in the Mariners’ lineup. The Yankees hit two home runs and scored five runs on Hernandez in the fourth to pull away and claim a 9-3 win in front of 22,029.

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“One inning.” Hernandez said. “The fourth. I was leaving the ball up, and they got me.”

Hernandez retired the first six batters he faced, striking out three. Each time he reached two strikes during an at-bat, the King’s Court stood, waved their yellow K-covered placards and shouted “K, K, K, K,” begging for strikeouts (he fanned four in the game).

“I had pretty good stuff today,” he said. “After that (the fourth), they were getting good hits on good pitches. You’ve got to give credit to those guys.”

After breezing through the first two innings, he got into trouble in the third. He gave up a leadoff single to Brett Gardner, and Chris Dickerson followed with another base hit. With runners on second and third and one out, Derek Jeter drove in Gardner for the game’s first run on an RBI ground out to third base.

Hernandez escaped, giving up the one run, and the Mariners tied the score in the bottom of the inning after Brendan Ryan scored on an Ichiro single.

The fourth inning was a struggle for Hernandez, as the Yankees opened up a comfortable cushion. Mark Teixeira hit a leadoff home run and Dickerson’s two-run blast with one out capped the scoring during a five-run frame. Gardner had an RBI double and Eric Chavez drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the inning.

“They’ve got a pretty good lineup, so you’ve got to respect that,” Hernandez said. “You’ve just got to make good pitches, and in that inning, I just made a couple of mistakes.”

Hernandez got through six innings, giving up six runs on nine hits.

“He had good stuff today,” Wedge said. “In that fourth inning, it just looked like he was out and over a little bit. A few pitches up, a few pitches that were down, but it looked like they were just out over the plate and that’s what they were getting to.”

Yankees starter Phil Hughes allowed one run and scattered five hits through six innings.

“He spotted his fastball pretty well,” said Seager, who doubled in the sixth. “He threw his changeup enough to keep you honest on the fastball and then he threw the really big curveball. He did a good job mixing it up, and he was locating in and out and he just made good pitches.”

The Mariners had an opportunity to work back into the game in the sixth, loading the bases with one out, but Miguel Olivo — he hit a two-run homer in the eighth — and Trayvon Robinson were retired on fly balls.

Robinson Cano made a rough night worse for the Mariners with a three-run double in the seventh.

“It happens,” Hernandez said. “It happens all the time. You’ve just got to forget about this one and get ready for the next one.”


• Before the game, the Mariners announced that Roger Hansen, the team’s minor-league catching coordinator, has been promoted to special assistant to general manager Jack Zduriencik.

• New York catcher Austin Romine picked up his first major-league hit with a leadoff single in the seventh.

Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or mkelley@seattletimes.com

King finally gets crowned
After five straight wins and a no-decision against the Yankees, Felix Hernandez met his match for the first time in three seasons.
Date Opponent Result IP H ER BB SO HR
Sept. 12, 2011 vs. NYY L, 9-3 6 9 6 0 4 2
May 28, 2011 vs. NYY W, 5-4* 7 6 4 5 4 2
July 27, 2011 at NYY W, 9-2 7 5 1 4 5 0
June 30, 2010 at NYY W, 7-0 9 2 0 3 11 0
July 10, 2010 vs. NYY W, 4-1 9 10 1 2 9 1
Aug. 20, 2010 at NYY W, 6-0 8 4 0 3 11 0
Sept. 18, 2009 vs. NYY W, 3-2 9 8 1 1 3 0
May 3, 2008 at NYY L, 1-6 5.2 12 6 3 3 1
*Note: Hernandez did not get a decision in the May 28, 2011 start.
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