Felix Hernandez is rarely ever beatable, but he has seemingly always lived up to his billing as one of the best in the game when he faces the Yankees in New York. Every time it looked like the King might be ready to break a little, he showed that he was only willing to bend, giving the Yankee offense enough hope by putting runners on base before slamming the door in their faces. It looked like another typical Felix start in the Bronx with the Yankees trailing 3-0 and Hernandez cruising, but a collision at first base with Lyle Overbay's leg clipping his knee was enough to end his night a little prematurely at 97 pitches. Fortunately, things started to turn around at that point.
CC Sabathia allowed ten hits in his 6.1 innings of work, but matched each hit with a strikeout to keep the Yankees in the game. Overbay botched a ball at first base that led to the first Seattle run, then Sabathia was bitten by a Raul Ibanez homer that landed in the first row in right field. We've seen that movie before, but it was a little more pleasant last time around. Before the Ibanez homer, Yankee pitchers hadn't allowed an earned run in their previous 21 innings.
The offense seemed to not be completely helpless against Hernandez, but every rally seemed to fizzle out quicker than it began. The only damage they could manage while Felix was in the game was an RBI double by Overbay that scored Curtis Granderson. Enter Yoervis Medina and Charlie Furbush. Chris Nelson blooped a hit into no man's land in center before advancing on a wild pitch. Medina was replaced by Furbush after striking out Austin Romine, but Brett Gardner worked a walk to bring Robinson Cano to the plate. Cano (and I) thought the pitch he hit was long gone, but it bounced just in front of the wall in front of the bullpen to tie the game at three-all. Pay that man, Hal. Pay him now.
An intentional walk of Vernon Wells loaded the bases for Overbay, who atoned once more for his error at first by lifting a ball to the outfield that was deep enough to score Cano from third and put the Yankees on top for good. David Robertson and Mariano Rivera came in and did their things, two bats died untimely deaths at the hand of Mo's cutter, and the Yankees pulled out a hard-earned victory out of what seemed like almost certain defeat with King Felix on the mound. The win improved the team's record in one-run games to 8-2 so far this season.
The task doesn't get much easier for the Yankees tomorrow, as they will have to face Hisashi Iwakuma tomorrow evening. Iwakuma is 4-1 with a 1.74 ERA so far in 2013.