Always a load, Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia was even heavier than usual Friday night in New York for the Mariners, crushing them with a three-hit, 10-strikeout pitching performance as Seattle’s season-high seven game win streak came to an unceremonious end, 6-3.
The Mariners’ first hit and run was a fourth-inning homer by Casper Wells, a native of upstate New York. Otherwise Sabathia was in Cy Young form (he won it in 2007), throttling the recently respectable Mariners offense on just 89 pitches in eight innings.
Until the ninth, Sabathia didn’t even get to a three-ball count. But after walking Brendan Ryan, Dustin Ackley homered. Following a mound conference, manager Joe Girardi left in Sabathia (11-3), who retired the final three batters for his second complete game of the season, ninth as a Yankee and 35th of his career.
“Just one of those days,” said Mariners manager Eric Wedge. “C.C. had everything working tonight. Our guys have been played good baseball. They played good tonight. The other guy was just real good.”
In the third, former Mariners star Ichiro, hitting eighth, began the scoring in typical fashion, with an infield dribbler that went for a single, extending his Yankees hitting streak to 10 games. After Russell Martin doubled him to third, both came home on a single by Curtis Granderson.
After Wells delivered a partial answer, the Yankees in the sixth caught a home-field break with two out and a runner on when Eric Chavez lifted a high fly to Yankee Stadium’s notoriously short right field porch.
Eric Thames made a leap at the wall, but a fan reaching for the ball appeared to interfere with Thames’ glove. Nothing was called, the ball bounced free and over the fence for a two-run homer and a 4-1 lead.
Wedge said because the fan didn’t reach into the park, there was no protest.
“I think the fan’s glove did hit (Eric’s), but the ball was already over the fence,” he said. “It’s the kind of homers you get in this park.”
That was it for Mariners starter Kevin Millwood (4-9), who hung tough for six innings despite giving up nine hits and a walk that added up to 109 pitches. Wedge said he wasn’t going to lift Millwood prior to the Chavez AB.
“He’s so good at making his pitches,” he said. “I trust him to make pitches.”
Touted Mariners rookie pitcher Carter Capps made his MLB debut in the seventh, flashing a 100 mph fastball. But he learned it wasn’t enough, giving up a single and a walk that started a two-run inning, which included RBI singles from Granderson and Robinson Cano.
Another Mariners rookie reliever, Stephen Pryor, returning from a groin strain, had a 1-2-3 eighth in his first time pitching at Yankee Stadium.
Felix Hernandez takes the mound to attempt to even the series at 10 a.m. Saturday.