Mariners turn to streaking Hernandez for opener with Yankees

Seattle ace Felix Hernandez eyes a fifth straight win on Tuesday when the Mariners open a three-game series against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.

Hernandez has been nearly unhittable his last five times out, going 4-0 with a 0.71 ERA in those outings. Hernandez was again terrific in Pittsburgh last Wednesday, as he held the Pirates to just a run and six hits in eight innings to run his overall mark to 5-2, while lowering his ERA to 1.53.

"The first inning, they got me pretty good and I just left a couple of pitches down the middle," Hernandez said after allowing the lone run in the opening frame. "I knew it was going to be hard because (Pirates starter A.J.) Burnett was nasty. And after the first, I just had to get my command back and try to throw strikes, and that's what I did through the course of the game.

"If you don't have your best stuff, you've got to go out there and fight and find different ways to get people out."

Hernandez's roll should continue on Tuesday, as he is 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA in his last five road starts against the Yankees. In fact, Hernandez is 7-2 with a 2.19 ERA in his last 10 overall matchups with the Yankees.

Standing in his way, though, will be left-hander CC Sabathia, who has pitched to a 1.20 ERA in winning his last eight starts versus the Mariners. For his career, Sabathia is 12-4 against Seattle with a 2.46 ERA in 20 starts.

"That's a big matchup right there," Hernandez. "I just have to go out there and match him and do whatever we have to do to win the game."

Sabathia did not get a decision on Thursday in Colorado, as rain cut short his outing after giving up one run and one hit in four innings.

"I'm just disappointed I didn't get any more at-bats," Sabathia said after striking out twice in his only two trips to the plate.

The Yankees, who split a doubleheader on Monday to cap a 6-2 road trip, could get outfielder Curtis Granderson back on Tuesday. Granderson broke his forearm early on in spring training and has yet to play this season.

"He has to feel like he's ready to play," Girardi said. "You don't want a player coming up here and saying, 'I just don't feel good at the plate' or 'I just don't feel good. My legs don't feel good.' We don't want that."

The Yankees were 6-3 against the Mariners last season. However, two of those losses were to Hernandez, including a two-hit shutout on Aug. 4 at Yankee Stadium.