NEW YORK — Felix Hernandez followed Cliff Lee with a gem of his own, pitching a two-hitter and striking out 11 as the Seattle Mariners secured their first road series win since April, beating the New York Yankees 7-0 Wednesday night.
Michael Saunders connected for two of the light-hitting Mariners’ four homers to support Hernandez in his third complete game this season and 10th overall. It was his career fourth shutout and first since June 16, 2009, at San Diego.
Hernandez (6-5) and Lee are a major reason why the Mariners have won nine of 12. Lee threw his third straight complete game in a 7-4 win Tuesday night and King Felix, in his third start in a row to go nine innings, might have been more perplexing to Yankees batters Wednesday.
The Yankees had not lost consecutive games to pitchers throwing complete games since April 21-22, 2000, when Chris Carpenter and Kelvim Escobar did it for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Hernandez and Lee won back-to-back starts for only the second time this season. The last was June 18-19, but Hernandez went nine innings in his previous start, a 13-inning loss to the Cubs.
Mark Teixeira doubled leading off the first for New York’s first hit and Colin Curtis had a lost-in-the-lights double in the fifth. Hernandez retired 11 in a row after Curtis’ double before a one-out walk to Teixeira in the ninth.
Milton Bradley and Saunders each homered off Javier Vazquez (6-7) and Jose Lopez extended his hitting streak to 12 games with an RBI single.
Russell Branyan homered for the first time since returning to the Mariners in a trade late Saturday, a two-run shot in the seventh off Damaso Marte to help the Mariners secure their first series on the road since April 26-28 at Kansas City.
Saunders hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Chad Gaudin for his first multihomer game.
Unlike Lee, who might be gone by the trading deadline in July, Hernandez figures to be the Mariners ace for awhile. He signed a $78 million, five-year deal in the offseason.
Hernandez got himself in trouble with a leadoff walk to Derek Jeter in the first. He struck out Nick Swisher and Teixeira but Jeter advanced to third on a wild pitch and passed ball. Alex Rodriguez walked — Hernandez’s first multiwalk game in five starts — before Robinson Cano hit a liner to left that Saunders caught with a leap.
Hernandez, who has won three straight decisions, did not walk another batter until the ninth.
In the fifth, Curtis hit a high fly that fell in for a double when second baseman Chone Figgins lost the ball in the lights, holding his hands up in dismay as Curtis hustled around first for the extra-base hit.
In the top of the fifth, Branyan stepped out of the batter’s box but home plate umpire Angel Hernandez did not grant him time — Vazquez’s pitch was a ball and Branyan ended up walking.