NEW YORK — Felix Hernandez nearly became the first pitcher in more than 25 years to throw four straight complete games against the New York Yankees, and Russell Branyan hit a pair of homers off A.J. Burnett and drove in four runs to lift the Seattle Mariners to a 6-0 victory Friday night.
Hat slightly askew as usual, Hernandez kept New York off-kilter for eight innings, allowing four hits and striking out 11. He was lifted after 117 pitches for Garrett Olson, who pitched a perfect ninth to help Seattle win its third in a row and improve to 7-3 under interim manager Daren Brown.
Alex Rodriguez returned to the Yankees' lineup as the designated hitter after missing three games because of a strained left calf but was pulled after one at-bat.
The Mariners needed just 11 pitches to take a comfortable 3-0 lead, the most runs they've scored when Hernandez started since July 16 – three runs. Ichiro Suzuki singled, Chone Figgins walked and Branyan hit a 2-1 pitch into the Yankees' bullpen before Burnett (9-11) got an out.
Coming in, Hernandez (9-10) was 1-4 with a 2.04 ERA in his five previous outings, with Seattle scoring four runs.
King Felix pitched a two-hitter June 30 in New York and went the distance in Seattle on July 10. He also had a complete game against the Yankees on Sept. 8 in Seattle. Toronto's Dave Stieb went the whole way in four consecutive starts against the Yankees from 1983-84.
Branyan hit his 18th homer of the season in the sixth for his 14th multihomer game and second this year.
The Mariners added two more runs against Burnett with a parade of singles in the third and fourth. In the third, Casey Kotchman followed Franklin Gutierrez's hit and stolen base with an RBI single.
The restless New York crowd booed Burnett as he gave up three more singles and Suzuki's run-scoring fielder's choice to make it 5-0 in the fourth.
The Yankees' bullpen remained quiet as the Mariners racked up 10 hits and two walks in the first five innings.
Burnett received a warmer reception as walked off the field after a 1-2-3 seventh. He yielded 12 hits and six runs while throwing a season-high 122 pitches – 77 strikes. He struck out four and walked three.
The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the fifth but Hernandez struck out Ramiro Pena and Brett Gardner to end that threat.
Derek Jeter doubled with one out in the fourth for the first hit off Hernandez but was stranded at third.
Hernandez made several nice stabs on sharp grounders back to the mound. On one in the eighth, he caught Gardner in a rundown between second and third for the second out.
The Indians chose RHP Zach McAllister from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre as the player to be named in the deal that sent Austin Kearns to New York. McAllister was 8-10 with a 5.09 ERA in 24 starts for Scranton. … Yankees RHP Alfredo Aceves, on the 60-day disabled list with a strained lower back, will throw three innings Saturday or Sunday for Double-A Trenton. … Branyan's last multihomer game was for Cleveland on May 11 against Kansas City. … Before Hernandez, Jamie Navarro was the previous pitcher to throw three straight complete games against the Yankees, from 1990-91 for Milwaukee.
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