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Something rare happened in Mariners-Yankees opener

By Gary Hill

It was all going according to plan.

Raul Ibanez smashed a two-run homer to supply the Mariners with a commanding three-run cushion. Three runs might as well be 300 when King Felix is on his game. Felix was mowing down one Yankee after another as he continued his dominant run at new Yankee Stadium. He rolled until the sixth inning when he finally coughed up a run and tweaked his back along the way.

There was no reason for Eric Wedge to be worried. His bullpen had only blown one save on the season, which was second-best in all of baseball. The one blown save did not even result in a loss. Stephon Pryor allowed the White Sox to tie the game in the seventh during the Mariners’ fifth game of the year. The Mariners wound up winning 8-7 in 10 innings.

The M’s came into Tuesday’s game 14-1 when leading after six innings, 16-0 when leading after seven and 17-0 when leading after eight. They entered the game with an ERA of 2.80 in innings seven through nine, which was seventh-best in baseball.

The plan went poof as the Yankees stormed from behind and hung a three spot on the board in the seventh. New York held on to the 4-3 win and handed the Mariners’ pen just its second blown save of the season.


It is significant that the M’s fell 4-3.

• When the Mariners score three runs or fewer they are 7-20.

• When the Mariners score four runs or more they are 11-1.

• When the Mariners allow three runs or fewer they are 17-3.

• When the Mariners allow four runs or more they are 1-18.

• Michael Morse has gone five for his last seven after a 1-19 spell.

• After yielding one run in six innings, Felix’s ERA at new Yankee Stadium actually went up from 1.13 to 1.18.

• Hisashi Iwakuma has pitched once at Yankee Stadium (five innings, seven hits, three earned runs).

• Iwakuma coughed up a two-run homer to Raul Ibanez.

• Felix and Iwakuma have given up two homers between them at new Yankee Stadium and both were to Ibanez.

• Mariano Rivera saved his 35th career game against the M’s, tied for ninth among MLB teams.

• Rivera owns a 2.70 ERA against the Mariners, which is his ninth-highest.

• The M’s have hit eight homers against Rivera, which is the second-most he has yielded against any team.

• The M’s who have hit homers off Rivera are Edgar Martinez (twice), Luis Sojo, Ken Griffey Jr., Jay Buhner, Roberto Kelly, Adrian Beltre and Ichiro.

• Edgar Martinez had five extra-base hits off of Rivera in 23 plate appearances. The Tigers have eight in 215 PAs and the White Sox have nine in 302.