YANKEES 3, MARINERS 2
Getting a clutch hit with a runner in scoring position has been about as scarce as sightings of a dinosaur for the Yankees. In fact, those big hits in close games have gone pretty much extinct.
But Jacoby Ellsbury delivered a tie-breaking RBI single to score Derek Jeter from second with one out in the eighth inning as New York edged Seattle on Tuesday in front of a paid crowd of 28,405 at Safeco Field.
Ellsbury’s game-winner came off left-hander Charlie Furbush, who had just come into the game after Jeter blasted a ground-rule double to deep center off right-hander Hisashi Iwakuma.
Dellin Betances (4-0) was credited with the victory in relief despite yielding a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning by hitting Mike Zunino with a pitch, uncorking a wild pitch to advance Zunino to second and then giving up a two-out RBI single Dustin Ackley.
Mike Warren pitched a scoreless eighth and David Robertson struck out the side in the ninth to get credit for his 15th save in 17 opportunities this season.
The Yankees took an early 2-1 lead off Iwakuma in the first inning as Jeter stroked a one-out single and, one out later, Mark Teixeira lined a single of his own. Carlos Beltran followed with an RBI double to score Jeter and Brian McCann bounced an infield single up the middle to score Teixeira,
Iwakuma (4-3) was charged with three runs on seven hits and two walks while he struck out five in 7 1/3 innings.
The Mariners managed to halve the Yankees’ lead in the bottom of the first off left-hander Vidal Nuno on a two-out double by Robin$on Cano and an RBI single off the bat off Cole Gillespie.
But Nuno managed to hold the Mariners scoreless into the sixth inning. He yielded just the one run on four hits and one walk with two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
Nuno got a lot of help from his outfield defense in maintaining the lead.
In the second inning, former Mariner Ichiro Suzuki made a spectacular leaping catch on the warning track on a ball off the bat of Kyle Seager. Then in the fourth, Ellsbury grabbed a blast at the top of the center-field wall off Michael Saunders with a runner on second and third and two out.
The victory was the Yankees’ first of the season against the Mariners after being swept in three games at Yankee Stadium.
The victory also prevented the Yankees from dropping below .500 for the first time since April 11, when they were 5-6.
They are 32-31 and they are tied with the Baltimore Orioles for second place in the American League East. Both teams trail the first-place Toronto Blue Jays by 5 1/2 games.
The Mariners are now 34-30.
- Ellsbury’s RBI single also extended his hitting streak to 14 games dating back to May 26. During that span, Ellsbury is 21-for-56 (.375) with a home run and nine RBIs. That has raised his season average from .258 to .286.
- Jeter was 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored after entering the evening on a 3-for-26 (.115) skid. His troubles at the plate were part of the reason the Yankees were averaging just 2.5 runs over the past 10 games and the team was 3-7 in the stretch.
- Give Nuno a lot of credit on a excellent start. Nuno has pitched exceptional on the road and terrible at Yankee Stadium this season. In his four road starts, he is 1-0 with a 1.87 ERA. In his six home starts, he is 0-2 with a 6.07 ERA.
- Despite his excellent defensive play in right, Suzuki took a rare 0-for-4 collar in the game. It is the first time Suzuki has not gotten a hit in a game in which he has started since May 28. His season average slipped from .320 to .308. Though it was a bad night at the plate, Suzuki is one of the few Yankees who has hit consistently.
- Betances had a rare bad outing. His problems started when he drilled Zunino with a breaking pitch. The wild pitch also came off a poorly thrown breaking ball. Ackley then singled just over the outstretched glove of Brian Roberts on a hanging breaking ball. Without his dominant slider Betances is hittable. But he still is 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA and batters are hitting only .147 off him.
The Mariners honored Jeter before the game with a pre-game ceremony in which he was given a chair from the old Kingdome, a base, a watch with a personal inscription from Cano and a $5,000 donation for Jeter’s charitable Turn 2 Foundation. . . . Right-hander Shawn Kelley is expected to be activated on Wednesday and rejoin the bullpen. Kelley, 31, has not pitched since May 6 after suffering a strained lumbar spine. He is 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 16 games this season.
The Yankees will continue their three-game series with the Mariners on Wednesday.
Rookie sensation Masahiro Tanaka (9-1, 2.02 ERA) will start for the Yankees trying to extend his six-game winning streak. Tanaka beat the Oakland Athletics on Thursday by holding them to one run on five hits and a walk with four K’s in six innings.
Veteran right-hander Chris Young (5-3, 3.42 ERA) will pitch for the Mariners. Young lost to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, yielding three runs on seven hits and five walks in five innings. But Young is 6-0 with a 2.84 ERA in nine career starts at Safeco Field.
Game-time will be 10:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be broadcast by the YES Network.
YANKEES 4, MARINERS 3
The epic showdown between former American League Cy Young Award winners Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia on Tuesday may have ended in what could be scored a draw. But the New York Yankees ended up victorious by virtue of a technical knockout of Hernandez.
Trailing 3-1 when “King Felix” abdicated the mound, New York rallied for three runs in the seventh inning off the Mariners’ bullpen to defeat Seattle in front of a paid crowd of 41,267 at Yankee Stadium.
Reliever Shawn Kelley (2-0) bailed Sabathia out of a jam in the top of the seventh with runners on first and third and one out by striking out Kelly Shoppach and retiring former Yankees’ 2012 playoffs legend Raul Ibanez on a flyout to get credit for the victory.
Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his 624th career save and his 16th save in as many chances this season.
Mariners left-hander Charlie Furbush (0-2) was saddled with the loss.
Lyle Overbay, who in some way “caused” Hernandez to leave the game, and Robinson Cano keyed the crucial rally in the seventh.
Chris Nelson led off the frame with a bloop single to center off right-hander Yoervis Medina and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After Austin Romine struck out swinging, Mariners manager Eric Wedge summoned Furbush.
Brett Gardner drew a walk and Cano followed by lacing a 3-2 slider off the base of the wall in right-center to score Nelson and Gardner to tie the game at 3-3.
Wedge elected to have Furbush walk Vernon Wells intentionally but Furbush also ended up walking Curtis Granderson – who was activated from the 15-day disabled list and was playing in his first game of the season – to load the bases.
That brought up Overbay, who had stroked a two-out double off Hernandez in the sixth to plate the Yankees’ first run of the night. After working the count to 3-2, Overbay laced a line drive to deep center that easily scored Cano with what proved to be the game-winning run.
Hernandez had been in control against the Yankees much of the night. However, a misplay by Hernandez that led to a collision with Overbay in the fourth inning doomed him.
With one out and Wells on first, Overbay hit a bouncer that just eluded a dive by first baseman Kendrys Morales but the ball was gloved by second baseman Robert Andino, who double-clutched and threw to Morales at first base. However, Hernandez also came over to cover first and was standing in the baseline behind Morales when Overbay collided with him, striking the back of Hernandez’s left knee.
Though first-base umpire Alan Porter originally called Overbay out, the umpiring crew discussed the play, ruled Hernandez was guilty of obstruction and awarded first base to Overbay.
Hernandez noticeably limped and stretched out his back throughout the rest of his outing until he was removed after six innings. The 27-year-old ace yielded one run on five hits and two walks while he punched out eight batters.
The Mariners, meanwhile were able to build a 3-0 lead on Sabathia.
They scored an unearned run in the third when, with one out ,Overbay committed a fielding error on a ball off the bat of Michael Saunders. One out later, Kyle Seager ripped a double to the wall in right-center to score Saunders.
They padded their lead in the sixth when Shoppach slapped a first-pitch single to the opposite field in right and Ibanez, who hit three dramatic late-inning home runs for the Yankees during the 2012 playoffs, showed the fans what they were missing when he roped a two-run home run into the first row of the bleachers in right-field.
Sabathia left in the seventh having given up three runs (two earned) on a season-high 10 hits and two walks but he also fanned season-high 10 in 6 1/3 innings.
With the come-from-behind victory the Yankees are now 8-2 in one-run games this season.
The Yankees have also won seven of their past eight games and they improved their season record to 25-14. They also extended their lead over the second-place Baltimore Orioles to two games in the American League East. The Mariners are now 18-21.
- Though Overbay committed his second error of the season and misplayed another ground ball by Ibanez that was ruled a single, his contributions at the plate have been huge all season. He was 1-for-2 with two RBIs and he is hitting .256 with six home runs and 24 RBIs. In fact, his RBI total is only one behind the team leader, Cano, who has 25.
- Cano came through in the clutch against a left-hander on a night the Yankees ended up 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Cano was 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs. The two hits pushed his season average back over the .300 mark at .306. He came in hitting .299.
- Rivera remains perfect in saves this season and he needed only 11 pitches to close out the Mariners in the ninth. The Yankees bullpen trio of Kelley, David Robertson and Rivera held the M’s s off the board over the final 2 2/3 innings to extend the bullpen’s scoreless streak to 23 2/3 innings, which extends back to May 5.
- Sabathia did not pitch well in this game. The Mariners had at least one base-runner on in every inning against him except the first inning. In the fourth they loaded the bases with two out, but Sabathia escaped the jam by fanning Saunders swinging. Sabathia left in the seventh having thrown 112 pitches.
- Granderson had a rough return to lineup having to face Hernandez. It showed. Granderson grounded into a double play in the first, struck out swinging in the fourth and hit into a fielder’s choice in the sixth. But he did draw a key walk in the seventh against Furbush that set up Overbay’s game-winning sac fly.
- Romine also had a rough night. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and he is now hitting .071. Romine also misplayed a sacrifice bunt off the bat of Brendan Ryan in the eighth inning. Robertson earlier had walked pinch-hitter Dustin Ackley on four pitches to open the inning. Romine fielded the bunt and tried to throw out Ackley at second instead of taking the sure out at first. But Ackley beat the throw. Robertson escaped the jam by striking out Saunders and retiring pinch-hitter Justin Smoak on an unassisted double-play liner to shortstop Jayson Nix.
Granderson returned to the lineup since breaking his right forearm on his first at-bat of spring training on Feb. 24 and he batted fourth and played left-field. In order to get Granderson on the 25-man roster the Yankees optioned rookie left-hander Vidal Nuno to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre a day after he won his first major-league game in first major-league start by pitching five shutout innings against the Cleveland Indians. . . . It would not be the Yankees if on the same day they get one player back (Granderson) they possibly lost another for a period of time. Designated hitter Travis Hafner, 35, did not play in Tuesday’s game because of tendinitis in his chronic problem right shoulder. An MRI taken on the shoulder was negative but Hafner did receive a cortisone injection for the inflammation. He is listed as day-to-day.
The Yankees will continue their three-game home set against the Mariners on Wednesday.
Right-hander Phil Hughes (2-2, 4.43 ERA) will get the call for the Yankees. Hughes is coming off his second straight victory, but he gave up six runs on seven hits and two walks while he struck out three against the Kansas City Royals on Friday. Hughes is 4-2 with a 2.83 ERA against the M’s in his career.
Hughes will be opposed by right-hander Hasashi Iwakuma (4-1, 1.74 ERA). Iwakuma, 32, gave up two runs on four hits and punched out nine in seven innings in a victory over the Oakland Athletics on Friday. In his two starts against the Bronx Bombers last season he was 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.
MARINERS 6, YANKEES 2
On Sunday, a veteran pitcher who had pitched in World Series and had a lot of past glory in the major leagues came out of nowhere and won a game.
Unfortunately, it was not Andy Pettitte.
Kevin Millwood (1-4) pitched seven innings of one-run, three-hit baseball and two Mariners who entered the game hitting hitting under .208 hit two-run homers as Seattle spoiled the celebrated return of Pettitte with New York at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees did the 37-year-old journeyman Millwood a big favor by hitting into three double plays and going 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Their only two runs in the game came on bases-loaded walks fifth and eighth innings.
Meanwhile, the 39-year-old Pettitte (0-1) matched Millwood zero for zero and had a not allowed a hit until there were two outs in the fourth.
Pettitte walked former Yankee mega-prospect Jesus Montero on a 3-2 pitch and Justin Smoak followed with a line-drive blast into the left-field bleachers for a two-run home run. Smoak entered the series hitting .173 but was 6-for-12 against the Yankees in the three games.
In the sixth inning, Pettitte began showing signs he was tiring after 573 days between his last start in the 2010 playoffs.
Dustin Ackley led off with a single to center and the mighty Casper Wells strolled to the plate. Wells entered the game batting .207 with no home runs and one RBI. He had a career total of 15 major-league home runs.
On a 2-2 offering from Pettitte, Wells swung late to protect the plate and he ended up hitting a ball that quickly was spinning foul into the right-field corner until it struck the foul pole. Wells could not placed it any better if he was standing five feet from the pole and thrown a ball against it.
The partisan Yankee crowd of 41,631 in attendance led out an audible gasp as the ball made an unmistakeable doink sound when it struck the pole.
Pettitte later that inning gave up three consecutive singles that loaded the bases. However, Pettitte induced Mike Carp into hitting a sharp grounder to Mark Teixeira at first . Teixeira stepped on first and fired home to catcher Russell Martin to nail a sliding Montero at home plate for an inning-ending double play.
Pettitte left after recording one out in the seventh inning. He gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks and struck out two. It was encouraging enough to Pettitte and manager Joe Girardi.
“It felt like I never left,” Pettitte said. “It’s frustrating, and obviously I’m disappointed in getting the loss. The guys gave me a chance to get right back in the game and get me a run, then I go back out and give up a two-run homer. You can’t do that. I got a little careless with a few pitches, and it cost me.”
“I thought he was pretty good,” said Girardi. “You look at the first five innings, and he really only gave up the one hard-hit ball and got a ton of ground-ball outs. He used pretty much all his pitches. And they hit some balls hard in the sixth, but to get us into the seventh inning, that’s pretty good.”
With the loss the Yankees fell to 19-15. The Mariners are 16-20.
- For those who believed Pettitte would embarrass himself on Sunday they owe the left-hander a big apology. Pettitte showed upper 80s velocity and good movement on his pitches throughout his outing. Strength and stamina were going to be issues for him and it showed in the sixth. But this was an encouraging first step and the Yankees just might have an exceptional starting rotation this season. That is bad news to their American League East rivals.
- The Yankees got runners on base (six hits and six walks) and they should have scored a lot more runs. Give Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez for collecting two hits apiece. Swisher is hitting .275 and Chavez is hitting .316 in a limited bench role.
- Martin and Robinson Cano deserve credit for having the patience to draw bases-loaded walks. Martin got his from Millwood in the fifth and Cano got his from Charlie Furbush in the eighth. Too bad that was all the damage the Yankees could muster for Pettitte.
- With two on and one out in the third inning, Derek Jeter hit into a inning-ending double play.
- With the bases loaded and one out after Martin had drawn his walk to bring the Yankees to within a run at 2-1, Jeter hit into another inning-ending double play.
- With two on and one out in the eighth, Curtis Granderson struck out.
- With the bases loaded and two out after Cano drew his walk to bring the Yankees to within 6-2, Teixeira struck out with the bases loaded.
Need I say more?
The Yankees open a short four-game road trip with a two-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday.
Right-hander Ivan Nova (4-1, 5.02 ERA) will open the series for the Yankees. He is coming a two-run, seven inning victory over the Rays on Tuesday. He is 3-1 with a 3.96 ERA in his career against the Orioles.
The Orioles will start ailing right-hander Jason Hammel (4-1, 2.09 ERA), who is nursing a right knee injury. He was scratched from his start on Thursday and he hopes to be able to pitch on Monday. He is 1-3 with a 6.69 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.
One axiom of Major League Baseball is pitching comes at a very steep price.
Yankee fans found just how steep on Friday when general manager Brian Cashman swung a pair of deals that netted the Yankees two starting pitchers and a very good pitching prospect and it cost them their No. 1 prospect and potential Rookie of the Year in Jesus Montero and right-handed starter Hector Noesi.
Though the trade is not official, the Yankees apparently have agreed to ship off Montero and Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for 23-year-old right-hander Michael Pineda and and 19-year-old right-hander Jose Campos.
Right after the rumor of that deal surfaced, the YES Network reported that the Yankees reached agreement on a one-year, $10 million contract with 37-year-old free-agent left-hander Hiroki Kuroda.
Pineda burst upon the baseball landscape when he emerged as dominant starter during spring training in 2011. In five games (four starts), Pineda had no record but had a 2.12 ERA and struck out 14 batters in 17 innings, which earned him a ticket to begin his rookie season as the Mariners’ No. 2 starter behind “King” Felix Hernandez.
Pineda got off to a marvelous start, too. Pitching for perhaps baseball’s weakest offense, Pineda was 6-2 with a 2.30 ERA after his first 11 starts as of June 1. He was so impressive he was selected to pitch for the American League in the 2011 All-Star Game.
However, the combination poor offensive support and a heavy workload of innings combined to trip up Pineda in the second half. In his final 11 starts, the 6-foot-7, 260-pound Pineda went 2-8 with a 4.74 ERA.
For the season, Pineda was 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA and struck out 173 batters in 171 innings pitched. He only walked 55 batters and ended the season with a WHIP of 1.10. He was generally considered as second to only the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson among rookie starters with the Yankees’ Ivan Nova very a close third.
If the trade is completed, Pineda will join the 24-year-old Nova in the Yankees’ 2012 rotation.
Campos is a 6-foot-4, 190-pound right-hander from Venezuela was 5-5 with a 2.32 ERA in 14 starts with the Mariners’ Class-A Everett team. Campos struck out 85 batters while walking only 13 in 81 innings last season and he is considered one of the best young pitching prospects in the Mariners’ system.
As ardent Yankee fans know, the Mariners were offered Montero and Nova two seasons ago in exchange for left-hander Cliff Lee. But Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik got very greedy and tried to push Cashman into including shortstop Eduardo Nunez in the deal and Cashman balked. The Mariners then shipped Lee to the Texas Rangers in a package that included first baseman Justin Smoak.
Montero was slated to be the Yankees’ primary designated hitter and a backup catcher in 2012 after he burst upon the scene in a September callup and hit .328 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 61 at-bats. Montero’s power and hitting drew comparisons from scouts to the likes of Mike Piazza and Manny Ramirez.
The doubts about Montero surrounded the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder’s ability to become good enough to be even a passable defensive catcher. Some scouts feel his long-term future was as a DH or first baseman.
Noesi had been a starter throughout his career with the Yankees but spent his rookie season in 2011 pitching mostly in the bullpen. Noesi was 2-2 with a 4.47 ERA over 56 1/3 innings in 30 games (two starts). The Yankees had maintained that Noesi was going to be strictly a starter this season. If he did not make the starting rotation this spring he was slated to pitch at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
If the deal is finalized, Noesi would join Hernandez, Jose Vargas and youngsters Charlie Furbush and Blake Beavan as starters for the Mariners.
With the signing of Kuroda, the Yankees have ended more than two-month search for pitchers to bolster their rotation. Just this week the Yankees opted not to sign free-agent right-hander Edwin Jackson, whose agent Scott Boras was seeking a four-year, $60 million contract that the Yankees believed was too pricey.
Kuroda, 37, was 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA and he recorded 161 strikeouts in 202 innings over 32 starts last season for the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound native of Osaka, Japan is 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA in his four seasons in the major leagues, all with the Dodgers.
With the addition of Pineda and Kuroda the Yankees are now overloaded with seven potential starting pitchers.
Pineda and Kuroda will slot in the rotation behind ace left-hander CC Sabathia. Nova, who was 16-4 with a 3.70 ERA in his rookie season, would seem to have the inside track on a spot. Phil Hughes, who was 18-8 with a 4.19 ERA in 2010 but was hampered with a right shoulder injury last season, would be the odds-on favorite to win the fifth spot if he is healthy this spring.
That leaves 35-year-old right-handers A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia in a very tenuous position.
Burnett suffered through his second straight subpar season, recording a mark of 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA. Burnett’s wildness and lack of command does not lend itself well to the bullpen and he still has two years and $33 million owed on a five-year contract he signed with the Yankees in 2009. The Yankees have offered to pay $7 million of Burnett’s contract to any team willing to take them off their hands but they have received no takers.
Garcia was signed last season as a free agent and he was 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA over 26 appearances (25 starts). The Yankees re-signed him for $4 million in December and he now looks to be an insurance policy against an injury to any of the starters before the season starts. He likely will end up in the bullpen as a long reliever and spot starter.
The trade and the free-agent signing also would allow the Yankees to keep all five of their best pitching prospects – Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, D.J. Mitchell, David Phelps and Adam Warren – at the Triple-A level to continue their development.
The only real downside is the loss of Montero as the team’s designated hitter.
The Yankees are set at catcher with Russell Martin signed for another season as the starter. Francisco Cervelli and rookie Austin Romine will battle this spring for a backup role with the loser likely headed to Triple-A.
With the loss of Montero it is unclear how the Yankees will handle the DH spot. They could rotate it among starting players such as Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher, which is something manager Joe Girardi prefers to do. That would mean bench players such as Nunez and outfielder Andruw Jones could be used to spell the resting regulars.
They also could use the righty-swinger Jones and lefty-swinger Eric Chavez, if he is re-signed as a free agent, in a platoon at DH.
However, in either case, Montero’s spot on the roster would have to be filled. That would seem to indicate that Cashman may intend to use Burnett in a trade to fill that spot with someone who could serve as a DH and play the outfield. It seems unlikely, put still possible, the Yankees could choose to bring back 40-year-old Jorge Posada for another season.
Posada reportedly has decided to retire rather then field offers from other teams.
YANKEES 3, MARINERS 2
To the best closer to ever toe the rubber, Tuesday likely seemed just like any night over the past 17 seasons he has sported the number 42 on his back. But when the final out was recorded in the ninth inning, Mariano Rivera earned another taste of history by recording his 600th save.
Rivera joins a short list of relievers that includes just Trevor Hoffman and himself as the only closers to reach that plateau. The Panama native now needs only two saves to pass Hoffman on the all-time saves list.
The fact that Rivera did this to preserve a victory for the luckless veteran A.J. Burnett, helped extend the Yankees’ modest winning streak to three games and maintained the club’s four-game lead in the American League over the second-place Boston Red Sox made the milestone even sweeter.
The Yankees broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning on a Robinson Cano fielder’s choice grounder that scored Nick Swisher and the bullpen — led by Rivera’s 41st save of the season — held the Mariners at bay the rest of the game as New York edged Seattle at Safeco Field in front of a crowd of 18,306.
Burnett (10-11) won his first game since Aug. 15 at Kansas City against the Royals, a stretch of five starts. The six innings he pitched were a microcosm of what Burnett has been to the Yankees during the season.
In his first three innings, Burnett threw 64 pitches, he gave up two runs on four hits, walked one batters, hit two batters and threw two wild pitches. To Yankee fans familiar with the Burnett repertoire this is the what they would call “Bad A.J.”
However, over the next three innings, Burnett threw 39 pitches, gave up no runs, no hits and walked just one batter. This is what Yankee fans affectionately call “Good A.J.”
The end result was a victory for him and the Yankees and a pitching line that reads: six innings, four hits, two walks, and a season-high 11 strikeouts. He struck out at least one batter in every inning and he struck out two batters in the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth innings. He struck out the Mariners No. 7 and No. 8 hitters, Adam Kennedy and Casper Wells, in all six plate appearances he faced them.
He was only touched by a two-out RBI single by Brendan Ryan in the second inning and a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Miguel Olivo in the third before he settled in and started getting strikeout after strikeout with his breaking pitches.
The performance earned him his 10th win, the seventh straight season he has won 10 or games.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were able to take an early 2-0 lead on rookie lefty Charlie Furbush (3-9) in the second inning.
Cano led off the frame with his 26th home run of the season that landed deep into the right-centerfield bleachers. Rookie designated hitter Jesus Montero followed with a line-drive single to left and Andruw Jones advanced him to third with double down the leftfield line.
Furbush was then working on Russell Martin, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with a bruised right thumb, when Furbush uncorked a wild pitch that eluded Olivo and rolled to the backstop. Montero broke from third and scored without a play at the plate.
The Yankees winning rally began in the sixth on a Nick Swisher leeadoff double off the wall in left-center. Mark Teixiera followed with a looping single to right that Swisher had to make sure fell in front of Ichiro Suzuki before advancing to third.
Cano then hit a grounder to Dustin Ackley at second in which the Mariners were unable to turn into a double play and Swisher scored easily with what proved to be the winning run.
The bullpen then took over in the seventh. The Yankees’ killer trio of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson and Rivera were able to shut out the Mariners the rest of the way, although Robertson did make it interesting the eighth by giving up a single and two walks sandwiched around three strikeouts. The reliever the Yankees call “Houdini” for his unbelievable escapes from jams struck out pinch-hitter Trayvon Robinson swinging with two out to end the bases-loaded threat.
Rivera then began the ninth with a strikeout of pinch-hitter Wily Mo Pena. After a Suzuki single, Rivera struck out rookie Kyle Seager swinging. Then with Ackley batting, Suzuki was thrown out attempting to steal by Martin to end the game and deliver an epic save to the Yankees’ 41-year-old living legend reliever.
The Yankee players and coaches spilled out of the dugout and bullpen to congratulate Rivera on his very rare achievement. Rivera cast it aside after the game saying there was a more important goal at stake for him.
“It’s a good number to achieve, but at the same time, it’s not all about that, you know what I mean?” Rivera said.
With the victory the Yankees have already clinched a victory in the three-game series with the Mariners. They also improved their season record to 90-57. The Mariners, losers of their last four games, are now 61-87.
- Look out A.L. pitchers, Cano is hot again! In the last three games, Cano is 7-for-14 (.500) with two home runs and six RBIs. His two RBIs on Tuesday give him 111 on the season, which ties him for the team lead with Curtis Granderson. It also tops his career high of 109 RBIs he set last season and he still has 15 games left to play.
- Montero had three very good at-bats on Tuesday. In the second he singled solidly to left and later scored on a wild pitch. In the fourth he doubled off the wall in left-center but was caught napping on a hot grounder hit to Ryan at shortstop. Ryan threw to second to nab Montero, who had strayed too far off the base. But in the sixth, Montero hit a shot to deep center that barely missed going out. To show how large Montero’s legend has grown, Mariners manager Eric Wedge called in a right-hander to face him in the sixth rather then let Furbush face him a third time.
- You have to credit to Burnett for toughing out a rocky three innings and shutting down the Mariners in the next three. His off-speed stuff was electric and had the Mariners flailing at air most of the evening. Granted the Mariners were playing a lot of youngsters who have limited major-league experience. But the performance was impressive nonetheless.
- The Yankees continue to pull rockhead plays at a time when they should be eliminating them before the playoffs. Montero was caught off second by Ryan in the fourth inning. Two innings later, Cano forgot how many outs there were and was already touching third as Montero’s blast to center was caught by Wells. Montero’s out was only the second out and Cano was doubled off easily for the third out. The Yankees also bounced into three double plays, which prevented them from extending their 3-2 lead.
- Eduardo Nunez continues to struggle at the plate. He was 0-for-3 with a strikeout and did not get a ball out of the infield. He is now 3-for-37 (.081) since Aug. 28. The league has apparently caught up with him and pitchers are feeding him a steady diet of breaking balls out of the strike zone and letting Nunez get himself out.
- In fact, the No. 7, 8 and 9 hitters in Tuesday’s lineup — Martin, Nunez and Brett Gardner — combined to go 0-for-9 with five strikeouts, one double play and none of them got a ball out of the infield. When the offense is clicking, it is usually because the bottom of the order is producing and getting on base.
The Yankees got Martin back behind the plate and Swisher, who played first on Monday, returned to leftfield for the first time since he injured his left elbow last Thursday in Baltimore. The Yankees have played the last three games without three starters and have been resting other starters due to an extended road trip without any days off. Alex Rodriguez, who is out with a sore left thumb, likely will not play again until the team gets to Toronto on Friday. Meanwhile, backup catcher Francisco Cervelli was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Sept. 9 with concussion syndrome symptoms. It is unlikely that Cervelli will play for the Yankees for the rest of the season. Rookies Jesus Montero and Austin Romine could both make the postseason roster, although Romine likely would take Cervelli’s role as the backup to Martin. Montero would be a DH.
The Yankees can post a sweep of the Mariners on Wednesday.
They will start Rookie of the Year candidate Ivan Nova (15-4, 3.94 ERA). Nova had his streak of eight consecutive wins in eight starts broken his last time out with a no-decision against the Orioles on Sept. 8. He gave up three runs on five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings. He is 0-0 with a 9.82 ERA against the Mariners this season.
The Mariners will counter with lefty slop-tosser Jason Vargas (8-13, 4.49 ERA). Vargas won his start last Thursday against the Royals, giving up one run on four hits over six innings. He is just 2-8 in his last 12 starts. He is 0-3 with a 7.86 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
Game-time will be 10:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by ESPN and locally by the YES Network.