Freddy Garcia pitched a good game if you look at his stats casually. But if you give up three runs to a team that has difficulty scoring and has John Jaso as its cleanup hitter, do those three runs count more like five? To be sure, he ended much better than he started. After Granderson gave the Yankees the quick lead in the top of the first, Garcia gave the run right back as Michael Saunders hit a bomb way out to right. Garcia then struck out the side in the second after a lead off single. But he did not fare as well in the third and in the end, it was the third inning that cost the Yankees the game.
Brendan Ryan started the inning with a grounder up the middle that kicked off of Garcia’s foot. By the time the ball got to A-Rod, it was too late to make a play. After a deep fly ball to right, Michael Saunders hit a sharp single to right. Ryan gambled with Ichiro Suzuki‘s arm and won the race with the ball to third. Jesus Montero broke his bat but served the ball to right that landed safely and Saunders just beat Ichiro’s throw again. John Jaso made it, 3-1 with a deep sacrifice fly to center and the damage was done.
Hernandez cruised through the first three innings but got in a jam in the fourth. Curtis Granderson hit a single to lead off the inning and stole second. Alex Rodriguez then hit a sharp single and Granderson did not get a good jump off of second and was held at third. He would be stranded there. Robinson Cano popped out weakly to the infield. Mark Teixeira had a terrific plate appearance and walked. But Raul Ibanez struck out and Eric Chavez hit the ball hard, but the drive landed safely in Saunders’ glove to end the inning.
The Yankees had another chance an inning later when Ichiro doubled down the first base line to lead off the inning, The next three Yankee batters, Chris Stewart (pop up), Derek Jeter (ground out) and Granderson (strikeout) left the runner stranded.
Both pitchers got into a groove after that and the game cruised along until the eighth inning which must have taken an hour between both half innings. The Yankees had their best chance to win the game in the top of the eighth. Hernandez hit Jeter with a pitch on the elbow. The trainer ran out, but Jeter waved him off and took his base while flexing his arm. Granderson struck out (again). And then disaster struck. A split-fingered fastball bore in on A-Rod and he reacted slowly as the ball came in on him. The pitch struck his hand while it was still on the bat and A-Rod immediately went down to the ground in agony. The trainer walked him off the field holding A-Rod’s hand immobile and it was learned after the game that A-Rod’s hand did sustain a fracture.
The two HBPs did give the Yankees first and second with no outs. Jayson Nix ran for A-Rod. And it got Felix Hernandez out of the game. He was replaced by a good lefty reliever in Luke Luetge. Robinson Cano hit a sharp single to right to great the new pitcher. Jeter got a bad read on the ball and had to be held at third. Mark Teixeira was up next and batted right-handed. It was somewhat surprising that Eric Wedge did not bring in a reliever to keep Teixeira batting from the left side. The lack of a move almost cost Wedge as Teixeira smoked a ball to center. But it was an at-em ball and Jeter scored on the sac-fly (sac-liner really). Luetge then struck out Raul Ibanez and the threat was gone.
It was all moot in the end, but Joe Girardi played Russian-roulette bullpen again in the bottom of the eighth. Freddy Garcia got the first out of the inning and Girardi hopped right out of the dugout to go get him even though Garcia had retired fifteen in a row and was still under ninety pitches. The move ended up being a circus. Seven batters and four relief pitchers were required to get the last two outs and the M’s had a pad run.
Closer, Tom Wilhelmsen, pitched a perfect ninth and struck out two for the save and the Yankees fell to 1-4 on this West Coast string.
Curtis Granderson – A homer and two hits total with a stolen base. But he struck out his last two at bats, one in a costly spot.
Freddy Garcia – His longest outing of the season and he struck out eight. But again, three runs to the Mariners is a lot.
Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez – Went a combined 0-8 with three strikeouts combined and left a combined eight runners on base.
Derek Jeter – Invisible with the bat as he went without a hit and hit into a double play.
The Yankees will need a roster move to replace A-Rod. These two teams will play an afternoon game at 3:50 ET. Ivan Nova will pitch for the Yankees and Hisashi Iwokuma will get the ball for the Mariners.