(Sports Network) - The third of four weekend games between the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners will ensue at Safeco Field tonight, but the contest seems secondary in the headlines to a trade that fell through between the teams yesterday.
The reigning World Series champions were reportedly close to trading for Seattle pitcher Cliff Lee before the Texas Rangers swooped in and landed the All-Star lefty from their division rival in exchange for first baseman Justin Smoak and three minor league prospects.
The transaction at least allowed the Yankees to avoid facing Lee on Friday, and they responded with a 6-1 victory for their seventh straight win.
Phil Hughes (11-2), who had given up 11 earned runs over his previous two starts, allowed just one run on six hits while walking none and striking out five over seven innings.
"[Hughes] used all his pitches today. I thought he had a real good curveball," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "A lot of teams would take 11 wins from their fifth starter on the year...that's a big deal for half the year."
Mark Teixeira hit a pair of solo home runs and Robinson Cano had a two-run triple during a four-run sixth inning for the victors.
David Pauley (0-1), in his first major league start since 2008, allowed three runs -- one earned -- on two hits and a walk over five-plus innings for Seattle, which has dropped five straight and eight of nine overall.
"I knew what the situation was and I knew I had to try to get them some innings and try to save the bullpen," said Pauley of his emergency start. "I knew it had been a while, but I wasn't worried about that. I just tried to keep myself the same."
While the Yankees have been outstanding as a team this season, veteran righty Javier Vazquez has simply been mediocre. Through 16 starts, Vazquez is 7-7 with a 4.81 ERA. He is, however, coming off a tremendous outing against Oakland on Monday, one in which he scattered three hits and just one earned run over seven innings of work en route to victory.
Vazquez lost his only previous start against Seattle this season and is 4-3 with a 4.37 ERA lifetime against Seattle.
Set to oppose Vazquez is Seattle's Felix Hernandez. While the righty's 6-5 record isn't overly impressive, he can certainly take pride in a 3.01 ERA. Hernandez did not figure in the decision of Monday's matchup with Kansas City, but he allowed only two earned runs on six hits over seven innings.
In 128 2/3 innings of work so far this season, "King Felix" has struck out 122 batters.
Hernandez pitched a complete game two-hit gem against the Yankees back on June 30 and is 3-3 with a 3.61 ERA lifetime against New York.
Seattle took two of three matchups at Yankee Stadium from June 29-July 1 and has won five of the past nine meetings between the clubs.