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This time Mariners' Hernandez silences Yankees' bat

Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez pitches during the first

Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez pitches during the first inning of a baseball game against the New York Yankees. (June 30, 2010) Credit: AP

With Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez at the front of the Mariners rotation, how are they 11 games under .500? That's what a bunch of frustrated Yankees hitters have to be wondering.

One day after the high-powered Yankee offense couldn't solve Lee, Hernandez was even better. Seattle's young hard-throwing righthander dominated the Yankees last night, holding them to just two hits in the Mariners' 7-0 win in the Bronx.

The only solace for the Yankees is that when they try to avoid the sweep this afternoon, they will be going up against lefthander Ryan Rowland-Smith, who is 1-7 with a 6.18 ERA. Those numbers are certainly a welcome respite from Lee and Hernandez, who baffled the Yankees the last two nights.

"We've got to take out some aggression [today]," Nick Swisher said.

Javier Vazquez battled to give up three runs in six innings, but any chance of the Yankees staging a late comeback against Hernandez was all but ruined by the Yankees' bullpen.

Damaso Marte gave up a two-run home run to Russell Branyan in the seventh and Chad Gaudin allowed a two-run shot in the eighth to Michael Saunders, his second of the game.

Still, the way Hernandez had been cruising through the Yankees order with such ease, they may not have had much of a chance on this night, anyway. He walked three and struck out 11.

"His stuff was as good as we've seen all year long," Joe Girardi said.

When the Yankees had runners on the corners with two outs in the first inning, they obviously had no way of knowing at the time that this would prove to be their best scoring opportunity. Robinson Cano hit a liner to leftfield but Saunders made a leaping grab and the Yankees never reached third base again.

"That was about the end of our chances," Girardi said.

It was that type of offensively challenged night for the Yankees. They had only one legitimate hit, a leadoff double down the rightfield line by Mark Teixeira in the fourth inning. Their other hit - a double by Colin Curtis in the fifth - was a pop-up that second baseman Chone Figgins inexplicably lost in the lights.

How bad did it get for the Yankees? When Ramiro Peña walked with one out in the ninth inning, he was their first baserunner since Curtis' double and what remained of the announced crowd of 46,309 celebrated with a sarcastic ovation.

"The days you might get to him are when he's up in the zone," Girardi said, "and he wasn't up in the zone."

The last time two opposing pitchers threw consecutive complete games against the Yankees in the Bronx was May 1991, when Mark Langston and Jim Abbott of the Angels accomplished the feat.

Vazquez gave up three runs in the first three innings, all the cushion Hernandez needed.

Milton Bradley led off the second inning by hitting a hanging curveball over the wall in centerfield. Then Saunders led off the third by hitting a 2-and-1 slider over the rightfield wall. Jose Lopez added a run-scoring single in the inning.

New York Sports