Sports

King Felix tries to become baseball's first nine-game winner

(SportsNetwork.com) - Seattle Mariners hurler Felix Hernandez tries to become baseball's first nine-game winner on Monday night when he faces former teammate Michael Pineda and the Seattle Mariners in the opener of a three-game set.

Hernandez is tied with the New York Mets' Bartolo Colon for the most victories in the majors and is among the American League leaders with a 1.91 earned run average and 71 strikeouts through his 10 starts.

Hernandez, who is 8-1 on the year, has allowed more than two runs in a start just twice and is coming off a four-hit shutout of the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday. He walked one batter and struck out eight to win a second straight start.

"I don't know what to say about the guy," manager Lloyd McClendon told Seattle's website of Hernandez. "We need a complete game and he goes out and gives us a complete game. He was phenomenal."

The right-hander posted his second shutout of the season and 11th of his career. He has blanked the Yankees twice over 17 career starts, going 9-5 with a 2.87 ERA.

Pineda, meanwhile, will face his former Mariners team for the first time in his career tonight. He originally signed with Seattle as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic and went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA as a rookie with Seattle in 2011 before getting dealt to the Yankees in 2012.

Pineda yielded nine earned runs and 18 hits over 11 1/3 total innings in losing his first two games of the season before rebounding with a solid effort in Wednesday's 4-2 victory over Kansas City. He allowed just one run on an early solo homer over 6 2/3 innings and was charged with six hits and one walk in all while striking out eight.

The 26-year-old struck out just five batters total over his losing streak, which came on the heels of a 16-strikeout performance versus Baltimore on May 10. He is 6-2 on the year with a 3.36 ERA.

This also is slated to be second baseman Robinson Cano's seventh career game against his former club. Cano is in his second season with Seattle after leaving the Yankees to sign a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Mariners.

Cano is batting .318 with a homer and five RBI against New York.

Seattle comes in having lost three of four to the Cleveland Indians, dropping a 6-3 decision in 12 innings on Sunday. The Mariners were outhit 18-5, with Cano and Austin Jackson driving in runs in defeat.

Reliever Dominic Leone walked in the go-ahead run with two outs in the 12th inning, then yielded a two-run single to David Murphy in the frame.

The Yankees are trying to halt their own struggles as they lost three of four to the Oakland Athletics to cap last week. They were shut out 3-0 in Sunday's finale, wasting another solid start by Adam Warren.

Warren yielded just the two runs -- a Stephen Vogt homer in the sixth inning -- on six hits through seven frames.

"He made one mistake, and unfortunately it cost the game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We got a really good performance out of him, and unfortunately we didn't score any runs."

Alex Rodriguez and Didi Gregorius finished with two hits in the scuffling Yankees' 13th setback in 18 games. They fell into a tie with the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the AL East.

The Yankees swept a three-game set in Seattle last season and have won five straight as well as seven of their last eight on the road in this series.