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King Felix Conquers Yankees

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Felix Hernandez

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By HOWIE RUMBERG   AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK (AP) _ The Seattle Mariners snapped their 17-game
losing streak Wednesday, riding a 17-hit attack led by Ichiro
Suzuki and rookie Dustin Ackley to a 9-2 victory over the New York
Yankees.

Felix Hernandez pitched seven innings for his third straight win
in the Bronx. Suzuki had four hits and scored two runs. Ackley
tripled among his three hits and drove in three runs as the
Mariners did something they failed to accomplish during the skid:
they turned an opponent’s mistake into a big inning.

Seattle took 21 days worth of frustration out on three
relievers, scoring five runs in the seventh inning _ highlighted by
Mike Carp’s bases-loaded triple _ after Robinson Cano flubbed a
flip to Derek Jeter at second base for an error.

The Mariners added two more in the ninth when Adam Kennedy
doubled in Ackley and scored on Carp’s single to give Seattle its
most runs since it had nine in a win against Tampa Bay on June 5.
After a win July 5, the Mariners were 43-43 and 21/2 games back in
the AL West, a pleasant early season surprise. But it all fell
apart in a hurry.

The longest skid in the major leagues since Kansas City lost 19
in 2005 began with a loss at Oakland on July 6 and included
four-game sweeps against division rivals, the Los Angeles Angels
and Texas Rangers. The Mariners led in seven of the games, twice in
the seventh inning, and loss No. 10 _ to the Blue Jays _ came in 14
innings.

Their last nine games have been against the AL East. They lost
three to Toronto, three to Boston then dropped the first two to New
York, managing just one hit Tuesday night.

Manager Eric Wedge shaved his mustache after losing Saturday,
pushed back the report time and canceled batting practice Tuesday
but had nothing up his sleeve Wednesday: “No, the only trick is
these guys have to go out and do better,” he said before the game.
And that’s what they did.

The Mariners came in hitting .218 during the streak but smacked
around a struggling Phil Hughes (1-3) for nine hits and two runs
over six innings. Still, Seattle had trouble getting runners home
before Carp’s triple in the seventh.

Ackley was stranded on third after he hit a two-out RBI triple
in the third. Ackley singled in a run in the fifth, but that was it
after the Mariners loaded the bases with none out. Kennedy led off
the sixth with a double and was stranded there.

But Seattle let loose in the seventh after Cano’s error on
Ackley’s run-scoring fielder’s choice.

The Mariners had lost Hernandez’s previous five starts, but they
had to gain some confidence from sending the reigning AL Cy Young
Award winner to the mound.

Hernandez (9-9) had never lost in the new Yankee Stadium, never
even given up a run in two starts in the billion-dollar ballpark.
In fact, the Mariners beat New York the past five times he started.
He was nearly as dominant in the Bronx again. He gave up two
hits through four innings before New York loaded the bases in the
fifth on a walk and two hits, one nearly an out when shortstop
Brendan Ryan made a diving stop and whirling throw to first but
Justin Smoak’s foot was pulled off the bag on the stretch.

Jeter hit a sacrifice fly for the Yankees’ first run against
King Felix in 21 innings here to make it 2-1.

Hernandez gave up five hits, walked four and struck out five to
win for the first time since June 24.

Cano had a run-scoring groundout in the eighth.

NOTES: Injured Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez (right knee surgery)
turned 36. … The Yankees likely will activate RHP Rafael Soriano
from the 60-day DL on Friday when they open a series against
Baltimore. … Suzuki stole two bases. … Ryan extended his
hitting streak to 11 games.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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