Mariners' pitcher breaks 37-year drought with grand slam
NEW YORK - The Seattle Mariners' Felix Hernandez hit the first grand slam by an American League pitcher in 37 years last night in New York. But the 22-year-old right-hander had to leave the game with a sprained ankle before he could qualify for a win in the Mariners' 5-2 victory over the Mets.
Facing a fellow ace from Venezuela, Hernandez gave the Mariners a 4-0 lead by connecting off Johan Santana with two outs in the second inning. The opposite-field shot to right-center was the first home run by a pitcher in Mariners history, and the first slam by an American League pitcher since Cleveland's Steve Dunning homered against Diego Segui of Oakland on May 11, 1971.
Three innings later, Hernandez sprained his left ankle while covering home plate on a run-scoring wild pitch. Carlos Beltran slid hard into the feet of Hernandez, who left the game one out short of being eligible for a win.
Ryan Rowland-Smith pitched two perfect innings to get the victory and improve his record to 2-1. Thirty-eight-year-old left-hander Arthur Rhodes recorded the final two outs to earn his first save since 2006. The teams play Game 2 of a three-game series at 4:10 tonight.
Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey is scheduled to start for the Mariners against Oliver Perez. Dickey has a 1-2 record with a 5.57 ERA, while Perez is 5-4 with a 5.06 ERA. It will be Dickey's third start of the season for the Mariners.