Home / Sports / Mark Teixeira's grand slam leads Yankees past Mariners, 7-2

Mark Teixeira's grand slam leads Yankees past Mariners, 7-2

Mark Teixeira smashes a grand slam in the fifth inning to give the Yankees a 7-0 lead on Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.Elaine Thompson/AP

Mark Teixeira smashes a grand slam in the fifth inning to give the Yankees a 7-0 lead on Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.

YANKEES 7, MARINERS 2

SEATTLE – The King’s court was out in full force Monday night, but the Yankees made Felix Hernandez look like a jester.

Mark Teixeira’s grand slam highlighted a five-run fifth inning against King Felix, lifting the Yankees to a 7-2 win over the Mariners to kick off a three-game set at Safeco Field.

“It doesn’t happen very often against Felix,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s pitched really well against us over the years, so it was really nice.”

In fact, Hernandez was 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last six starts against the Yankees dating back to July 2012.

“If he’s not the best in the game, he’s right there with the best in the game,” said Chase Headley. “Those things don’t happen very often with that type of pitcher.”

Michael Pineda was the beneficiary of the run support, beating the team that traded him to the Yankees more than three years ago. Pineda allowed two runs over six-plus innings to pick up the victory in his first-ever meeting with the Mariners.

“It’s a great game for me today,” Pineda said. “My first year in the majors, I stayed around Felix and learned a lot from him. Tonight, pitching versus him, it’s a really good game.”

Hernandez watches as Teixeira rounds the bases during his worst start of the season.Elaine Thompson/AP

Hernandez watches as Teixeira rounds the bases during his worst start of the season.

It was Pineda’s first trip back to Seattle since the Mariners traded him to the Yankees in January 2012, leading some to wonder how he would handle the emotion of the night.

“I always worry about those type of things when guys come back to face their old team for the first time,” Girardi said. “I think he handled it really well. I’m sure there was a little bit more meaning.”

If there were any nerves or extra excitement on Pineda’s part, it was difficult to tell. He blanked the Mariners on four hits and one walk over the first six innings, striking out nine. Things fell apart for him in the seventh as he allowed two runs and left with two runners on base, but the bullpen finished off Seattle to preserve the starter’s seventh win.

“I had really good focus today and tried to do the best on the mound,” Pineda said. “Tonight, everything was working good.”

King Felix looked unhittable early, retiring the Yankees in order in each of the first three innings on a total of 21 pitches. His movement was so severe, the Yankees were swinging at balls well outside the strike zone. 

So they stopped.

“The first few innings, we were probably a little over-aggressive,” Teixeira said. “Then we made the adjustment.”

The Yankees had more success the second time around, starting with Brett Gardner’s leadoff single to left. Chase Headley saw seven pitches before singling to center, putting runners at the corners.

A wild pitch scored Gardner for the game’s first run, then Hernandez walked both Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira, loading the bases with nobody out. Brian McCann grounded into a double play, though it still scored a run to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

“His stuff moves so much, I think that’s what got him into trouble a little bit,” Teixeira said. “It was tough to control and he walked a few guys. Give our hitters credit; they didn’t swing at the bad pitches when he threw them.”

Pineda struck out three of the four batters he faced in the bottom of the fourth, getting his offense back into the dugout.

He would stay there for a while, enjoying every moment of the next inning.

The Yankees went back to work against Hernandez, but this time it was the bottom of the lineup starting the rally. Stephen Drew led off with a walk, then Ramon Flores singled and Gardner walked, loading the bases.

“The stuff looked good,” Headley said. “I thought the ball was moving. Honestly, I thought we just did a good job of laying off some tough pitches. That was the difference.”

Headley lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0, then A-Rod singled to load the bases. Teixeira – who had five career home runs against Hernandez – drilled a 2-0 sinker over the wall in right-center, blowing the game open with his ninth career grand slam. 

“Felix is really good, but so is Mark,” Girardi said. “Mark is a really good player. It’s quite a battle when they match up.”

“It felt big,” Teixeira said. “The way Michael was pitching, we didn’t know how many we needed. Any time you can score seven runs off Felix Hernandez, you take it. It doesn’t happen very much.”

Hernandez remained in the game for two more batters before Carlos Beltran doubled with two out, bringing Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon out of the dugout to lift the Cy Young winner. 

“I don’t know what happened,” Hernandez said. “I just lost my command and fell behind a lot of times. A lot of walks killed me. I made a lot of mistakes.”

The 7-0 lead was more than enough for Pineda, who struck out two more batters during a perfect fifth, then repeated the feat in the sixth, fanning both Robinson Cano and Nelson Cruz. 

Seattle put together a single, triple and double to start the seventh against Pineda, who then issued a walk to end his night after two runs had scored. But Justin Wilson got a strikeout and a double play to escape without any more damage, then Dellin Betances and Chasen Shreve finished off the final two innings. 

“We did not swing the bats particularly well in Oakland,” Girardi said. “To be able to do that tonight, I think that’s big. Tomorrow’s a new day, and you have to go out and try to do the same thing.” 

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