After CC Sabathia pitched a complete game against the Mariners last night, Felix Hernandez thoroughly dominated the Yankees this afternoon.
King Felix allowed just two hits in a complete game 1-0 victory over the Bombers. He struck out six and walked a pair while throwing just 101 pitches. The Yankees didn’t get a runner in scoring position after the first inning.
Hernandez has been one of the game’s best pitchers for a while now and won the American League Cy Young Award back in 2010, but he has collected three of his seven career shutouts over his past eight starts. He’s now tied with Toronto’s Brandon Morrow for the American League in shutouts. This was the 21st complete game of his career.
While Hiroki Kuroda was outdueled by Hernandez, he was plenty good, allowing just one run on seven hits and a walk over 6 1/3 innings en route to his first loss since June 19. The only run scored on an RBI single by Mike Carp in the top of the second inning. Kuroda’s transition to the American League got off to a bit of a rough start, but the veteran right-hander has proved to be an excellent addition for the Yanks, posting a 3.19 ERA and 111/36 K/BB ratio over 143 2/3 innings.
Hernandez is now 4-1 with a 1.14 ERA in five career starts at the new Yankee Stadium. He has a brilliant 1.41 ERA over his last 10 starts and a 2.63 ERA over 23 starts overall this season. The Mariners are a surprising 15-6 since the All-Star break.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.