YANKEES 10, MARINERS 3
Freddy Garcia looked as laid back as ever on the mound at Yankee Stadium on Monday. But on the inside he was hoping he would not be “The One” to lose a game to Seattle.
Whatever Garcia’s mindset was, his pitching was simply superb as he breezed into the eighth inning and New York’s vaunted offense scored him plenty of runs as the Yankees sent the luckless Mariners to their 16th straight loss, a franchise record for futility.
Garcia (9-7), who won 79 games from 1999 through 2004 for the Mariners, gave up three runs on eight hits and one walk and fanned five batters in 7 2/3 innings for his seventh quality start in his last eight outings. Staked to an early 3-1 lead that ballooned to 8-1 after the Yankees scored five runs off Mariners starter Jason Vargas in the fourth inning, Garcia merely coasted through the game recording four three-up, three-down innings.
Mark Teixeira opened the scoring on the reeling Mariners and Vargas with a one-out two-run home run to left-field, his 27th home run of the season, which ties him teammate Curtis Granderson for second in the American League to Jose Bautista of Toronto, who has 31.
Two innings later, Derek Jeter lined his fourth home run of the season into the first row in the right-field bleachers over the auxiliary scoreboard to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead.
The Yankees broke it open in the fourth thanks to four hits from the Yankees and two errors from the Mariners. Eduardo Nunez, Brett Gardner, Jeter, Granderson and Teixeira drove in a run apiece in consecutive at-bats in the inning and the barrage knocked the left-handed Vargas out of the game. Vargas was touched for eight runs (four earned) on seven hits and a walk and he fanned two in four innings as he posted his fourth straight defeat.
The fourth inning was a microcosm of how things have soured for the Mariners this season.
With one out, Russell Martin reached on an error by third baseman Adam Kennedy. Andruw Jones then was safe on what was scored a single when Vargas was late covering first on a grounder to first baseman Justin Smoak. Nunez scored Martin on a bloop single to center and Gardner drove in Jones on a single up the middle.
Vargas then got Jeter to roll a ground ball to rookie second baseman Dustin Ackley but the ensuing play pretty much shows how things have unraveled for the Mariners during this stretch. Ackley chose to throw home to get a sliding Nunez but the ball struck Jeter’s bat and rolled past catcher Miguel Olivo for the team’s second error of the inning.
Granderson followed with a sacrifice fly and Teixiera singled in Jeter to close out the scoring in the nightmare inning for the M’s where four of the five runs scored were unearned.
The game began at 9:02 p.m. EDT because of one-hour and 57-minute rain delay. Of course, the rain of runs the Yankees scored dampened the Mariners’ spirit more than any of the precipitation. It seems that a dark cloud has followed the Mariners to the Bronx from rainy Seattle.
With the victory, the Yankees reached a season-best 20 games over .500 after they failed in their four previous attempts. They are 60-40 at the 100-game mark. The better news was that the first-place Boston Red Sox got tripped up at home by the lowly Kansas City Royals 3-1 and the Yankees have now drawn to within two games of first in the American League East. The Mariners, meanwhile, slipped to 43-59. They were at the .500 mark when their losing streak began.
- For those Yankee fans who believed that Jeter was finished as a productive hitter at age 37, think again. Jeter was 2-for-5 with a triple and home run and drove in three runs and scored two. Since July 20, Jeter is 9-for-22 (.409) with a homer and seven RBIs and he has scored six runs. In fact, Jeter is hitting .324 in July and has raised his season average to .273.
- Teixeira has been embarrassed by his .240 batting average and has been working in the batting cage with hitting coach Kevin Long. It may be paying off, too. On the homestand, Teixeira is 5-for-16 (.313) with two home runs and eight RBIs. Teixeira was 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs against the Mariners. He has 27 home runs and 75 RBIs despite hitting only .243.
- Garcia was in command most of the night and the run support helped a lot. Garcia was tagged by sac fly by Ichiro Suzuki that scored Justin Smoak in the third inning. The Mariners added a run with two out in the seventh on an RBI single by Smoak. The Mariners chased Garcia in the eighth after an RBI double by Brendan Ryan. Garcia is on pace to win 15 games for the first time since he won 17 games for the White Sox in 2006.
- Granderson was 1-for-2 with two sacrifice flies, a walk and scored a run. His two RBIs gave him 76 on the season and he is now tied for second in the A.L. with Andre Beltre of Texas. Boston Adrian Gonzalez leads with 82.
There was nothing that bad to discuss in this game. Garcia pitched effectively into the eighth and the Yankees scored 10 runs. What more could you want?
The Yankees are likely to activate reserve infielder Eric Chavez from the 60-day disabled list on Tuesday and he could start at third base against the Mariners. Chavez has been sidelined since May 5 with a fractured bone in his left foot. He arrived in New York on Monday after a rehab stint at Class A Tampa to be evaluated by the team’s medical staff. Chavez was 7-for-21 (.333) in six starts for Tampa. Chavez actually healed the foot injury some time ago. But the oft-injured 33-year-old veteran was sidelined for three more weeks by a kidney stone and recurring back issues. . . . Alex Rodriguez is making progress in his recovery from right knee surgery and he could return to the Yankees by the second week of August, manager Joe Girardi told reporters on Monday. Rodriguez had surgery to repair a torn meniscus in the knee and he was expected to miss four to six weeks. . . . Reliever Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect inning of relief on Monday for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and he could be rejoining the team soon. Soriano, who has been sidelined since May 13 with right elbow inflammation, was making his first back-to-back appearance during his rehab. The Yankees likely will wait to activate Soriano until Friday when they begin a four-game weekend home series with the Orioles. . . . Left-hander Steve Garrison made his major-league debut on Monday in the ninth inning against the Mariners. Garrision was recalled from Scranton to replace Sergio Mitre on the roster when he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder. Garrison, 24, pitched a perfect two-thirds of an inning to end the game. Garrison likely will be sent back to Scranton when the Yankees activate Soriano.
The Yankees will continue their three-game series with the hard-luck Mariners on Tuesday.
There is more bad news for Seattle since the Yankees will be starting left-hander CC Sabathia (14-5, 2.62 ERA). Sabathia had his seven-game wining streak stopped by the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday. However, Sabathia was far from bad. He gave up only two runs in eight innings in a pitchers’ duel against James Shields. Sabathia is 10-4 with a 2.49 ERA against the Mariners in his career.
The Mariners will send Doug Fister (3-11, 3.30 ERA) to the hill. The right-hander gave up four runs in seven innings against the Blue Jays in a loss last week. Fister has received only 25 runs of support in the 15 starts the Mariners have lost with him on the mound. He is 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by MY9.