You don't see this too often: Alex Rodriguez striking out three times against one pitcher.
That shows the kind of nasty stuff Orlando Hernandez was throwing Saturday.
Hernandez baffled Rodriguez.
"I had trouble getting good swings on him," Rodriguez said. "He used many, many arm angles. He was consistently ahead of our hitters and it was tough to pick the ball."
Hernandez, who allowed just three hits in eight innings, also fanned Russ Davis three times and got 12 strikeouts swinging in a game played in brilliant sunshine.
"You can't blame umpires for that," Torre said with a smirk.
Afterwards, "El Duque" avoided direct answers as well as his pitches avoided Mariners' bats. Told Torre thought it was his best game this year, he responded: "To me, every game is equa."
Hernandez, chased after retiring just one batter at Seattle on Aug. 6, gave up his only run on Raul Ibanez's third-inning homer, the first by a visiting player at Yankee Stadium in 64 innings. New York had gone ahead on Shane Spencer's RBI single in the second off Jamie Moyer.
The Yankees, who have held Seattle to one run in the first 18 innings of the series, are 8-1 against the Mariners this year with seven straight wins.
"When we have pitched very well against them, we haven't hit," said Seattle manager Lou Piniella, who turned 56. "They've beat us 1-0 and 2-1 in games where we've pitched well enough to win."
New York won it by doing the little things in the ninth.
"I made it simple. He's on his own," Torre said. "I sent him out there and said, `Bring home a run for us."'
Curtis said he didn't think he could have made it on a straight steal.
"I made a decision to try something that was a little out of the ordinary," he said. "It's something I've worked on since the minor leagues."
"How many times is Junior going to drop a fly ball?" Curtis said, explaining his reasoning.
Pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee was intentionally walked and Brosius followed with a hard liner that couldn't be handled by Bell, who moved from first base to second in the eighth. Bell got a glove on it, but couldn't come up with the ball. He then scrambled with a wild throw that was much too late to catch Brosius.
At first, Brosius thought his drive bounced into the outfield.
"I realized I'd better pick up the pace and get to first," he said.
Moyer, hit hard by the Yankees in an Aug. 5 loss, allowed one run and seven hits in seven innings.
"The last couple of games, I felt like I've really struggled with my mechanics early in the gme," said Moyer, who has two wins in his last five starts. "All of a sudden today in the fifth inning, something clicked. It was was easier to locate, with far better results."
"`El Duque' threw the ball really well," Moyer went on. "It was a nice little battle. I'm just sorry we didn't win it."
©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed