Two of the hottest pitchers in baseball are scheduled to face each other Saturday when Kuroda and the AL East-leading Yankees attempt to beat Hernandez and the Mariners again in the Bronx.
Hernandez (9-5, 2.79 ERA), the 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner, is 6-2 with a 2.48 ERA in his last nine starts against New York (62-43). That includes a 1.47 ERA while winning three of four games at Yankee Stadium.
The right-hander earned a 4-2 home win over the Yankees on July 24, yielding two runs and four hits in 7 1-3 innings. He had lost the previous two outings, including one in New York versus Kuroda on May 11, surrendering four runs and 11 hits with seven strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings of a 6-2 defeat.
Hernandez has been outstanding entering this visit, going 5-0 with a 1.60 ERA in nine starts.
He was in position to win again Sunday, allowing two runs in seven innings before the bullpen gave up four runs in the final two of a 7-6 win over Kansas City.
Kuroda (10-7, 3.28) will take the mound looking for another strong performance against Hernandez after beating him in May by allowing two runs in seven innings. The right-hander followed that with a sharp outing at Seattle (50-58) on July 23, striking out nine while yielding one run and three hits in seven innings of a 4-1 victory.
He has a personal four-game winning streak and is 7-1 with a 2.46 ERA over his last 12 starts. Kuroda was strong again Sunday, allowing two runs in eight innings of a 3-2 loss in 10 against Boston.
"Usually with this offense you're going to get some good results, but it just didn't happen," Kuroda said through a translator.
That offense has delivered while winning seven of nine at home against Seattle, hitting .291 with 13 homers while averaging 6.1 runs.
The Yankees collected 12 hits with three doubles and a two-run homer from Eric Chavez to spur Friday's 6-3 win over the Mariners in the opener of this three-game set. That performance came two days after the lineup pounded out 15 hits with two homers in a 12-3 win over Baltimore, ending a four-game skid.
Ichiro Suzuki has hit safely in all 10 games since New York acquired him in a trade from Seattle last month. Despite the run, he has a .250 average with one double, one homer, two RBIs, four runs and three stolen bases in that stretch.
The face of the Mariners' franchise for 11-plus years, Suzuki is 4 for 16 in four meetings with his former team, and went 1 for 2 with a double off Hernandez, who also hit him with a pitch.
Robinson Cano has had impressive success against the Mariners ace, hitting .378 with two homers in 37 at-bats. He's 5 for 10 with two homers and seven RBIs in the past three games after getting two hits and plating one run Friday.
Seattle had its season-high seven-game winning streak halted Friday, but Dustin Ackley is showing improvement by hitting .313 with two homers and seven RBIs in eight games.
He's 9 for 27 with two homers and six RBIs in seven visits to Yankee Stadium, including a two-run shot Friday.
|July 18, 2012||Charlie Furbush||15-Day DL||Strained left triceps|
|July 01, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||15-Day DL||Right elbow flexor strain|
|June 30, 2012||Erasmo Ramirez||Day-to-Day||Left game - leg injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||Day-to-Day||Left Game-Head Injury|
|June 29, 2012||Franklin Gutierrez||15-Day DL||Concussion|
|June 27, 2012||Kevin Millwood||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right groin|
|New York Yankees|
|July 25, 2012||Alex Rodriguez||15-Day DL||Non-displaced fracture in left hand|
|July 25, 2012||Nick Swisher||Day-to-Day||Strained left hip flexor|
|July 24, 2012||Alex Rodriguez||Day-to-Day||Left hand fracture|
|June 28, 2012||Andy Pettitte||60-Day DL||Fractured left ankle - out 6-8 weeks|
|June 27, 2012||Andy Pettitte||Day-to-Day||Fractured left ankle - out 6-8 weeks|
|June 25, 2012||CC Sabathia||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
NEW YORK (AP) -- Every five days, Felix Hernandez makes Seattle just so much better.
King Felix dominated the Yankees in their own ballpark again, helping the light-hitting, last-place Mariners look like world beaters by pitching a two-hitter for his third shutout of the season in a 1-0 win over New York 1-0 on a sticky, sunny Saturday.
"That's probably the best start I've seen as a manager," Seattle's Eric Wedge said. "In a 1-0 ballgame, he knows one pitch can be the ballgame. That was just special stuff to watch today. What you saw today, you're not going to see anything better than that."
It's one of the best starts the Bronx has seen from a visiting pitcher in a while. According to Baseball-reference.com, the last pitcher to win a 1-0 complete game at either Yankee Stadium was Cleveland's Greg Swindell in September 1988.
The last pitcher to win 1-0 while allowing two hits or less in the Yankees' ballpark was Baltimore's Jim Palmer , who pitched a two-hitter on June 1, 1978.
Hernandez (10-5) outdid Hiroki Kuroda in a duel of pitchers who hadn't lost since June. Mike Carp hit an RBI single in the second inning for Seattle, which bounced back from having its seven-game winning streak ended the night before. The Yankees have lost 10 of 15.
After Robinson Cano doubled with two outs in the first, Hernandez didn't allow a runner to second. Only seven balls were even hit out of the infield - all to center until Derek Jeter flied out to right field for the second out of the ninth.
"Even on a Felix day, I still figured there'd be some better swings out there, and there were a couple balls hit hard, but that was outstanding," Seattle shortstop Brendan Ryan said. "That changeup, it defies science."
It was the All-Star right-hander's second shutout in five starts at the new Yankee Stadium. Hernandez has the ballpark's lowest career ERA of any pitcher with at least two starts there. He lowered his ERA to 1.13 in the stadium that opened in 2009. He beat the Yankees 7-0 in the Bronx on June 30, 2010.
On Saturday, he faced the top of the Yankees order in the ninth and retired Curtis Granderson , Jeter and Cano in order, fanning Cano to end the game in a breezy 2 hours, 32 minutes.
"The thing was, he was never in any bad counts, really. I think he had one or two walks," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You look, he threw about a ball a hitter, so he was never in any bad counts."
Overall, it was the seventh career shutout for the All-Star right-hander. Hernandez struck out six and walked two - both with two outs.
"I hate that," Hernandez said. "When you get a quick two outs and then you walk somebody."
It was about all he or the Mariners had to complain about, even with Kuroda being his stingy self.
Kuroda (10-8) left in the seventh after he hit Ryan with a pitch following a one-out double by Eric Thames . The Mariners shortstop went down on the plate and stayed there for a while, before he walked to the dugout with a trainer gingerly holding his left arm steady. Munenori Kawasaki pinch-ran, but he and Thames were stranded when Boone Logan retired Dustin Ackley and Michael Saunders .
Kuroda gave up seven hits and a walk, with four strikeouts for his first loss since June 19. He went 4-0 in seven starts in between.
Carp's single scored the first run Kuroda has allowed in a day game this season, ending a run of 31 scoreless innings. He stranded seven Mariners runners.
Seattle left two on in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. The Mariners had runners on first and third with one out in the sixth, but Kyle Seager popped up and Casper Wells grounded out.
The Mariners' .233 team average is third from last in the major leagues.
"He was better than us," Jeter said. "That's pretty much all you can say."
NOTES: Hernandez's last loss was June 12 against San Diego. ... The back of Ryan's elbow was swollen and red after the game, but Wedge said X-rays showed no break. Ryan said he expects to play in the next series, in Baltimore starting Monday. ... York's Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the third, giving him exactly 11 hits during the streak. ... The Yankees hosted a drive to sign up people for a database of potential bone-marrow donors. Volunteers collected swabs of DNA from inside fans' cheeks before and during the game. ... Former Mariners starter Freddy Garcia (4-5) will pitch Sunday for the Yankees against Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma (2-2) in a matchup of right-handers.