NEW YORK - Once Mariners ace Felix Hernandez tweaked his back, the whole game took an odd twist.
Robinson Cano hit a two-run double, Lyle Overbay delivered a tiebreaking sacrifice fly and the New York Yankees rallied in the seventh inning after King Felix was forced to make an early exit, beating Seattle 4-3 Tuesday night.
"It was hard luck," said Hernandez, who was in the midst of another top outing at Yankee Stadium, outpitching C.C. Sabathia in the first matchup between the former Cy Young Award winners and taking a 3-0 lead into the sixth inning.
But with a runner on first and one out, Hernandez fielded a soft comebacker by Curtis Granderson in front of the mound, quickly pivoted and snapped a throw to second base for a forceout.
The swift play, however, came with a price. Hernandez twice kicked his left leg near the mound, trying to get loose, and seemed to say "ouch" a few times. Not a major setback, yet enough to cause concern.
"He was feeling it," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Wedge and a trainer visited Hernandez and left him in. Overbay followed with an RBI double that made it 3-1. After a walk and an inning-ending fly ball, Hernandez was pulled.
"I'm going to be fine," said Hernandez, adding he'd treat his back with ice.
Hernandez allowed one earned run and five hits, and leads the AL with a 1.53 ERA.
Sabathia, who had won his last eight starts against Seattle, struck out 10 in 6 1/3 innings while giving up 10 hits.
Granderson came off the disabled list and went 0 for 3 with a walk in his season debut. He broke his right forearm in his first at-bat of spring training, and he was the first of the injured Yankees' stars to return to the team. Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez still haven't played this year.
"It was like another opening day. Nerves ... and excitement," Granderson said.
Raul Ibanez hit a two-run homer for Seattle in his return to Yankee Stadium.