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July 24, 2012 at 11:21 PM

Mariners win is costly for A-Rod, Yankees

(Photo by Associated Press)
For the Mariners, there was a lot to like about tonight’s 4-2 victory over the Yankees at Safeco Field. Felix Hernandez turned in a gutty effort to win his fifth straight game (he has a 1.49 ERA over his last eight starts). Lucas Luetge got a huge out, striking out Raul Ibanez with two aboard in the eighth. Tom Wilhelmsen had a 1-2-3 ninth. Michael Saunders contributed in numerous ways with a homer, a great catch, and a single and run in the decisive two-run third.
But what people will take away, most likely, is Hernandez hitting three batters in a five-batter stretch in the seventh and eighth inning — including Alex Rodriguez, who suffered a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal on his left hand. A-Rod will go on the disabled list, and though the Yankees don’t know how long he’ll be out, it will likely be several weeks. Probably six to eight.

“I feel bad,” Hernandez said. “It was a changeup. What can I say?”
Hernandez also hit Derek Jeter and his former teammate, Ichiro. He blamed a lack of command and stressed, “It wasn’t on purpose. It wasn’t on purpose.”
The Yankees appeared to agree with that sentiment.
“In that situation, I don’t think he’s trying to hit anyone on purpose,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, speaking specifically of the 3-2 pitch that sent A-Rod writhing in pain. “I don’t think it was on purpose. You don’t want to put the tying run on base anyway. It happens, and it’s part of the game. It’s unfortunate Alex hurt his hand.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge said he doesn’t expect any retaliation from the Yankees in Wednesday’s series finale. “No. I mean, hey, we’re just playing baseball,” he said. “That’s what we do.”
There was also a pitch by Luetge under the chin of Ibanez before he struck him out to get out of the jam in the eighth.
“I was trying to change his eye level,” Luetge said. ” It wasn’t supposed to be that close, obviously.”
I don’t think there’s any way Hernandez hit anyone on purpose. Not in a close game like that. Not when two of them came on two-strike pitches. And not when he was struggling to throw the ball where he wanted all night.
“My command was off the whole game,” he said. “I don’t know what was going on. I couldn’t throw a strike. When I got in trouble, I just made good pitches.”
Nevertheless, I would still be on the alert to see if the Yankees try to send a message on Wednesday, because that’s the way it often works in baseball.
One more thing: The Mariners twice successfully challenged the arm of Ichiro by going first to third in the third inning. It proved to be huge, as both Brendan Ryan and Saunders wound up scoring.
We’re going to be aggressive like that,” Wedge said of testing Ichiro’s arm. “We want our guys to do that. You want to force the other guys to make plays.”
Added Saunders: “If he throws us out, so be it. We’re going to go down aggressively. To get Brendan over and myself over with less than two outs and pick up both runs proved to be the difference.”
OK, one more thing: Seager had a good quote about his dribbler single that pushed across a vital insurance run in the eighth.
“It was a protection swing, a ‘don’t hit me’ swing,” Seager said. “It worked out, man. It might be the favorite hit I’ve ever had. That was a good one. I saw where the ball was going. I was running down the line about as happy as you could be.”

Comments | Topics: Brendan Ryan


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