Seattle Mariners

Hernandez melts down after rain in Mariners’ 7-2 loss to Yankees

If it gets worse than this for the Seattle Mariners, then look out. On Monday, even the weather and their own ballpark seemed to conspire against them in a 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees.

Felix Hernandez didn’t even make it through the fifth inning — a five-run inning — despite powering through the first three frames in a mere 21 pitches.

Mark Teixeira delivered the decisive punch with a grand slam, but Hernandez also issued five walks in a stunning meltdown that saw him throw 64 pitches in the fourth and fifth innings.

What happened?

The Yankees, certainly. Start with that. But Hernandez was never the same after a rainstorm wet down the field, specifically the mound, before the Safeco Field roof could close in the bottom of the third inning.

Neither the rain nor anything else — least of all the Mariners — did much to bother New York right-hander Michael Pineda, a one-time Mariner facing his former club for the first time.

Pineda (7-2) overmatched the Mariners’ increasingly feeble attack through six shutout innings before hitting a wall in a two-run seventh. Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Chasen Shreve closed out the victory.

But, boy, the soft mound sure ruffled the King, who gave up seven runs on six hits and five walks in 42/3 innings. His ERA spiked from 1.91 to 2.63.

Consider: Hernandez (8-2) breezed through the first inning in six pitches, the second in nine pitches and needed just six more in the third inning.

The rains started as the Mariners were batting in the third, and the Safeco roof began cranking shut. The process, the Mariners said, takes at least 12 minutes and can take up to 17 minutes.

It wasn’t fast enough to prevent an abdication that sent the Mariners (24-27) to a third straight defeat.

Hernandez, after going nine up and down, began the fourth by yielding a single to Brett Gardner of a slicing drive to left.

Then it got messy in a hurry as Hernandez fought a losing battle with the soft mound. He called for a flat stick, at one point, to help pry the mud from his spikes. It didn’t see to help.

Chase Headley punched a single to center and Gardner, running on the 3-2 pitch, reached third. A wild pitch scored Gardner and moved Headley to second.

Hernandez then loaded the bases by walking Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira. The Yankees got another run on Brian McCann’s double-play grounder to second.

After still another walk, his third of the inning, Hernandez retired Didi Gregorius on a grounder to first. The totals: a 31-pitch inning.

Hernandez’s struggles deepened in the fifth inning, which he began by walking Stephen Drew, a .156 hitter, after being ahead 1-2 in the count. Ramon Flores, a .125 hitter, followed with a single to right.

After a walk to Gardner loaded the bases with no outs, Headley’s soft liner to left scored Drew for a 3-0 lead. Rodriguez’s single through the left side reloaded the bases.

Hernandez fell behind Teixeira before floating a 2-0 cookie — a sinker that didn’t sink. Teixeira sent a 407-foot rocket to right for a grand slam and a 7-0 lead.

It was Teixeira’s sixth career homer against Hernandez, who stayed a while longer before departing after Carlos Beltran’s two-out double.

TAYLOR TO TACOMA

Time simply ran out Taylor, who was batting .159 with a .220 on-base percentage in 20 games since his May 4 recall from Tacoma. He had started only one of the previous six games.

“I’ll tell you exactly what I told Chris Taylor,” McClendon said. “I love the kid. I said, ‘I think you’re going to be a tremendous shortstop in this league. But at the same time, I can not allow you to continue to swim uphill.’

“It’s tough to straighten things out at this level.”

Taylor had seemed likely to depart Tuesday to clear space for Montgomery, but the Mariners decided they needed immediate bullpen help after using all seven relievers in Sunday’s 12-inning loss to the Tribe.

Guaipe, 24, got the word Monday just prior to the Rainiers’ game against Round Rock. A Venezuelan native, he was signed in 2006 as a non-drafted free agent but has never pitched in the majors.

“I’ve been waiting for this call for a long time,” he said. “This is what you look forward to for all of these years.”

Guaipe was 0-2 with three saves and a 4.58 ERA in 16 games at Tacoma.

“The Cleveland series was a little tough for us,” McClendon said. “It gives us the chance to manipulate the roster a little bit. He’s a power arm with a power slider, and he throws strikes.”

How long Guaipe stays is an open question since the Mariners are likely to option a reliever Tuesday to Tacoma to clear roster space for Montgomery. The choice is expected to be with Guaipe or Dominic Leone.

Optioning Taylor to Tacoma returns Brad Miller to duty as the club’s regular shortstop. Miller shifted to a super utility role when the Mariners recalled Taylor.

Willie Bloomquist again serves as the roster’s primary utilityman.

FARQUHAR TO ROTATION

It’s no surprise the Mariners are lining up Farquhar on the same schedule as Montgomery; they want to have a major-league arm as an alternative in short order.

Farquhar was optioned May 25 to Tacoma after going 0-3 with a 6.46 ERA in 20 appearances. He then gave up three runs over 1 2/3 innings in two outings for Tacoma.

Further, Farquhar has never started in his eight-year professional career: 237 games in the minors, and 135 in the majors.

The Mariners acquired Montgomery, 25, in a March 31 deal from Tampa Bay for right-hander Erasmo Ramirez.

Montgomery was 4-3 with a 3.74 ERA in nine starts at Tacoma but has never pitched in the big leagues. He was ranked by Baseball America among the game’s top 40 prospects from 2010-12 while in the Kansas City system.

CRUZ STILL LEADS

Nelson Cruz continues to lead the American League All-Star balloting at designated hitter, but his edge over ex-Mariner Kendrys Morales, now with Kansas City, slipped over the past week by 26,352 votes.

Cruz totaled 2,108,584 votes in the latest release from Major League Baseball and leads Morales by 280,854 votes. Cruz’s lead was 307,206 a week ago.

No other Mariners are among the leaders at their positions. MLB releases vote totals for the top 15 outfielders and top five players at all other positions.

Updated National League balloting will be released Tuesday.

Balloting is being conducted solely online this season for the first time. Fans can cast votes through MLB.com and all 30 club websites through 8:59 p.m. (PDT) on July 2.

The All-Star Game is July 14 in Cincinnati.

MINOR DETAILS

Tacoma shortstop Ketel Marte, one of the organization’s top prospects, is expected to miss six weeks after suffering a broken left thumb in Sunday’s victory over Round Rock at Cheney Stadium.

Marte, 21, had been viewed, prior to the injury, as a possible promotion candidate to replace Taylor as the Mariners’ starting shortstop.

Marte was batting .343 in 51 games, which ranked second in the Pacific Coast League. He was ranked No. 3 prior to the season in The News Tribune’s Top 10 list of the organization’s prospects..

LOOKING BACK

It was 25 years ago Tuesday — June 2, 1990 — that Randy Johnson pitched the first no-hitter in Mariners’ history in a 2-0 victory over Detroit at the Kingdome.

Johnson struck out eight but walked six. He ended the game by striking out Mike Heath in front of a crowd of 20,014.

The Mariners scored on an RBI grounder in the first inning by Jeffrey Leonard, and a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning by Harold Reynolds.

There have been three other no-hitters in franchise history: Chris Bosio on April 22, 1993 against Boston at the Kingdome; the no-hitter from six pitchers against the Dodgers on June 8, 2012 at Safeco Field; and Felix Hernandez’s perfect game on Aug. 15, 2012 against Tampa Bay at Safeco.

LOOKING BACK II

It was 28 years ago Tuesday — June 2, 1987 — that the Mariners selected Ken Griffey Jr. with the first overall pick in the draft.

It was five years ago Tuesday — June 2, 2010 — that Griffey announced his retirement. He will be eligible this winter for election into the Hall of Fame.

ON TAP

The Mariners and Yankees continue their three-game series at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday at Safeco Field.

Left-hander Montgomery will be recalled prior to the game from Triple-A Tacoma and make his major-league debut. The Yankees will start CC Sabathia (2-7, 5.67 ERA).

Montgomery was 4-3 with a 3.74 ERA in nine starts for the Rainiers.

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