King Felix's exit was preceded by a play at first base when he blocked the baseline and appeared to be pushed by Lyle Overbay as he raced to first. Overbay's push was incidental and was more of a courtesy tap than a shove.
Hernandez, however, appeared to hurt himself later in the sixth when he fielded a comebacker, pivoted and threw to second for a forceout. The Seattle ace twice kicked his left leg near the mound, trying to get loose, and seemed to mouth the word "ouch" a few times.
Up to then, Hernandez had outpitched CC Sabathia in the first matchup between the former Cy Young Award winners.
Manager Eric Wedge and a trainer visited Hernandez and left him in. Overbay followed with an RBI double that made it 3-1. There was no announcement on whether Hernandez had tweaked something, was injured, or why he was pulled after 97 pitches.
Hernandez's removal gave the Yankees the opening they needed and Robinson Cano later hit a two-run double, Lyle Overbay delivered a tie-breaking sacrifice fly and the Bronx Bombers rallied to beat the Mariners 4-3 Tuesday night.
Hernandez allowed one earned run in another strong outing at Yankee Stadium, 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.
Raul Ibanez hit a two-run homer for Seattle in his return to Yankee Stadium. New York star Curtis Granderson came off the disabled list and went 0 for 3 with a walk in his season debut.
Down 3-1, the Yankees rallied for three runs in the seventh to win for the seventh time in eight games.