SEATTLE - A day earlier, Michael Pineda paid homage to his mentor. "He's the king," Pineda had said of Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. "He's great. He's unbelievable on the mound. All pitchers love to see him [pitch].''
But he left little doubt what he most wanted to see from Monday night's matchup. "I want to win it," he said with a smile.
The pupil outclassed the teacher this time. And it wasn't close.
Pineda, who early in his Mariners career learned at the feet of Hernandez, helped upend King Felix in a 7-2 shocker in front of 26,082 at Safeco Field.
Pineda (7-2, 3.33), traded by the Mariners before the 2012 season in the Jesus Montero deal and making his first appearance in the Pacific Northwest as a Yankee, pitched six shutout innings before giving up two runs in the seventh. Pineda, replaced by lefty Justin Wilson with two on and none out in the seventh, struck out nine and walked two.
"I'm very excited for this game,'' he said. "I had really good focus today. Everything was working good. I had a little power today and my changeup was working well. My slider too."
After beginning with three perfect innings that required only 21 pitches, Hernandez had a 1.83 ERA and 0.86 WHIP (48 hits and 15 walks in 732/3 innings). Then the Yankees somehow got seven runs, six hits and five walks off him in the next 12/3 innings.
Hernandez, who fell to 8-2 with a 2.63 ERA, allowed five runs in the fifth, capped by Mark Teixeira's ninth grand slam -- his sixth career homer off Hernandez. The five walks was one shy of his career high.
Said Teixeira, "I think it's a lot of luck. He's a great pitcher. I've faced him so much. There's very few guys for 10-plus years you face on a regular basis. He's one of them. I've just gotten a couple of good pitches to hit.''
He added, "It felt big. The way Michael was pitching, we didn't know how many we needed. But any time you can score seven runs off Felix Hernandez, you just take it. it doesn't happen very much.''
It was a surprising result for a bevy of reasons, not the least of which was this: The Yankees (27-25) were coming off a series in Oakland in which they lost three of four to the American League's worst team.
Even with the Mariners (24-27), a popular preseason pick to represent the AL in the World Series, off to a poor start, few could honestly claim to have seen this result coming. And the first three innings certainly showed nothing to suggest such an outcome was in the offing.
King Felix needed only six pitches to get out of the first and threw 18 strikes and three balls through three innings. But it began to unravel in the fourth.
Brett Gardner singled for the Yankees' first hit and Chase Headley singled to put runners at the corners before Hernandez's wild pitch made it 1-0.
Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira -- who was 19-for-64 (.297) with five homers and eight walks vs. Hernandez entering the game -- walked to load the bases for Brian McCann, who bounced into a double play to make it 2-0.
Stephen Drew walked, Ramon Flores singled and Gardner walked to load the bases with none out in the fifth. Headley hit a sacrifice fly and A-Rod's 2,987th career hit re-loaded the bases. Then Teixeira hit his 15th homer -- and Hernandez knew it immediately, punching his glove a split-second after contact.
"Felix is really good, but so is Mark,'' Joe Girardi said. "Mark's a really good player. It's quite a battle when they match up.''