SEATTLE -- As you might have expected, the Yankees got just one run off King Felix Hernandez. But as you might not have expected, Felix's Yankee counterpart David Phelps, pitched him to a standstill, allowing the Yankees to pull this one out against the Mariners bullpen in the top of the ninth. Still, the game was not without some last-second drama when Mariano Rivera had the tying run on second and the winning run on first before getting Michael Saunders to pop out, ending the game. Not very pretty, but good enough.
What it means: That the Yankees head into a much more difficult assignment, three games in Oakland against the Athletics beginning Tuesday night, riding the crest of a 3-1 trip in Seattle.
Mini-ball: After six innings of offensive futility, the Yankees scratched across a ninth-inning run on a walk to Ichiro Suzuki, a sac bunt by Jayson Nix, and a ground single to left by Chris Stewart, whose batting average has quietly inched ahead of the slumping Robinson Cano's, from .276 to .272.
Donut lineup: There was a huge hole in the middle of the Yankees batting order today as the 3-4-5 hitters, Mark Teixeira, Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner, went 0-for-11 with two walks. Tex had an especially bad day at the plate, striking out in 4 of 5 at-bats, including taking a third strike with the bases loaded to end the ninth.
Gold glove: Teixeira made up for his lack of offense with the defensive play of the game, snagging Kendrys Morales' one-hopper with a runner on first and none out in the bottom of the ninth. He stepped on first and fired to second to complete a key double play.
Mirror images: Mariners starter Felix Hernandez, known as King Felix, and Yankees starter David Phelps, known simply as Phelpsy, pretty much threw the same game. Hernandez went seven innings, allowed one run on five hits, walked two and struck out seven. Phelps went six, allowed one run on just three hits, walked three and struck out six. Both pitched well enough to win and both came out with no decisions for their trouble.
Off the hook: The Yankees had King Felix on the ropes in the first two innings, loading the bases with two out in the first but failing to score when Ichiro struck out, and coming away with just one run in the second despite getting singles from three of their first four hitters. Once Cano grounded into a double play to end the second, Hernandez buckled down, retiring the next seven hitters.
Dethroning the King: Brett Gardner, a career .300 hitter vs. Hernandez, had three hits in his first three at-bats today, including an RBI single in the second and a double off the right-field fence in the fifth.
What's next: Flight to the Bay Area followed by a day off on Monday before we begin the second phase of this 10-game, three-city road trip with Game 1 of a three-game series with the Oakland Athletics Tuesday night. CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.74) kicks off the festivities facing former Yankees cult hero Bartolo Colon (7-2, 3.14), first pitch at 10:05 p.m.