NEW YORK -- The King was unusually beneficent on this day -- five base hits and an incredible six walks allowed in just five innings pitched -- but the New York Yankees didn't seem to know what to make of the rare show of generosity.
On a day in which Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez was giving away baserunners the way John D. Rockefeller used to dole out shiny new dimes, the Yankees could manage to bring only one of them home. As a result, when he left the mound after five subpar innings, it was with a 3-1 lead.
The Yankees, who went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position in Friday night's 7-1 loss, followed up by going 0-for-11 with RISP on Saturday. In fact, without the bat of Carlos Beltran in the lineup, the Yankees might have been shut out; the 38-year-old right fielder's RBI double off Hernandez in the third inning and solo home run off reliever Nick Vincent in the seventh accounted for their only two runs in a 3-2 loss, their fourth straight defeat.
In some ways, Hernandez's outing mirrored one he threw against the Yankees in Seattle last June, in which he walked five in 4 2/3 innings -- and allowed seven earned runs. But today, the Yankees could not capitalize on Hernandez's largesse, stranding 11 baserunners. Once again, Alex Rodriguez was held hitless. He hasn't had a hit in his past 18 at-bats, dating back to April 9, and his batting average is down to .103.
The game ended, fittingly, with yet another RISP failure when, with runners at second and third after singles by Beltran -- his fourth hit of the game -- and Starlin Castro, Chase Headley grounded out to second base.
On the other side, Yankees starter CC Sabathia thoroughly outpitched Hernandez for four innings, but melted down in the fifth and was yanked quickly by manager Joe Girardi after allowing a solo home run to Leonys Martin, an RBI single to Robinson Cano and an RBI double by Nelson Cruz. But Sabathia was victimized by the defensive indifference of Jacoby Ellsbury, who failed to charge Cano's ground single, allowing Ketel Marte to score all the way from first. Just another example of a day in which the Yankees, given gifts by the opposition, returned the favor, with interest.