"Jose Lopez! Thank you man, I appreciate it!" Hernandez shouted.
Lopez hit his second career grand slam off Joba Chamberlain in the eighth inning, and Hernandez outlasted Javier Vazquez to lead the Mariners to a come-from-behind 4-1 victory over the New York Yankees on Saturday night.
Held hitless into the sixth inning by Vazquez, the Mariners offense came alive against the Yankees burly reliever, and Hernandez (7-5) earned his third straight complete-game victory against New York, which had its season-best seven-game winning streak snapped.
Lopez then caught up with Chamberlain's rising 96 mph fastball, sending a drive to left field that barely cleared the hand operated scoreboard. It was his sixth homer and second grand slam this season.
"I was trying to bring one run in. That was my first point, to tie the game," Lopez said. "When it got 2-0 I think in my mind that I have to swing hard. He was going to come in with a fastball and he throws hard, he throws like 96, 97. I tried to catch a fastball and I did."
Chamberlain said he felt bad for wasting Vazquez's effort.
"Most of the times when we've had the leads he has done a good job," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Tonight he struggled, it was with his command and we'll just keep working at it."
And Lopez's shot gave Heranndez another accolade in his already memorable young career. Hernandez, the lone ace remaining in Seattle, became the first pitcher in 19 years to throw three straight complete games against the Yankees, according to the Mariners. Jaime Navarro was the last to do so in the 1990-91 seasons.
Justin Smoak's debut with Seattle was mostly forgettable. Smoak was the centerpiece, from Seattle's standpoint, of the trade that sent Cliff Lee and Mark Lowe to Texas for Smoak and three minor leaguers. Arriving in Seattle about six hours before gametime, Smoak struck out three times and was hitless in his Mariners debut.
Closing out the Yankees didn't come easily for Hernandez. Curtis Granderson led off the ninth with a double and pinch-hitter Derek Jeter reached on an infield single, but Hernandez struck out Colin Curtis, Jorge Posada and Brett Gardner, all looking to finish off the victory.
Hernandez screamed in excitement and slapped his glove after Gardner was frozen by a breaking ball to finish off a third straight dominating performance against the Yankees.
"That's one reason why Felix should have been an All-Star," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. "To go out and see that performance ... to see him compete the way he did, it's one of those games, even though we have [David] Aardsma down there in the bullpen, he wasn't going to be denied."
Two weeks ago, Hernandez tossed a two-hitter at Yankee Stadium. His previous outing against the Yankees was in September, when he allowed one earned run and got the victory when Suzuki homered off Mariano Rivera in the bottom of the ninth.
Hernandez wasn't as overpowering on Saturday, scattering 10 hits and struck out nine. It was Hernandez's 11th complete game, fourth of the season and third in his last five starts.
The 24-year-old said he doesn't mind not going to the All-Star Game this year. It gives him time to move into his new home in Seattle.
"I'm good. It's not my decision. ... I get to spend three days here and that's good for me," Hernandez said.
Nick Swisher hit a solo homer in the third -- his 15th of the season on the day he was added to the Home Run Derby.
Vazquez was the story for much of the night, flirting with a no-hitter into the sixth inning and making Seattle's offense look foolish at times. Vazquez struck out seven in seven innings and being pulled after 117 pitches.
Other than a first-inning walk to Branyan, Vazquez kept Seattle off the bases, retiring 15 straight until Suzuki stepped up in the sixth. His golfed liner appeared to hit Vazquez in the thigh, but the pitcher scrambled and made a rushed throw to first that Mark Teixeira could not scoop. An accurate throw at first would have gotten Suzuki.
"Sincerely, with all might heart, I never think 'no-hitter,"' Vazquez said. "If ti happens, it happens, but I don't think about it."
An inning later, Lopez rolled a single up the middle and Franklin Gutierrez followed with a sharp single to left. The Mariners loaded the bases but Vazquez got pinch-hitter Milton Bradley to pop out to shortstop.
- Jeter and Posada both didn't start for New York, getting most of the day off for rest.
- Washington QB Jake Locker threw out the first pitch wearing a Mariners jersey. Last summer, Locker signed a contract with the Los Angeles Angels after being drafted in the 10th round.
- INF Chad Tracy reported to Triple-A Scranton for the Yankees on Saturday. Tracy was claimed off waivers after being designated by the Chicago Cubs.