New York’s Alex Rodriguez cracked a two-run homer and Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma unleashed a tie-breaking wild pitch as the Mariners dropped the final of their three-game series with the Yankees Sunday, 4-3, in the Bronx. The loss ended Seattle’s (5-7) three-game winning streak and prevented the Mariners from reaching .500 for the first time since April 8 (box).
After taking a 4-3 lead in the fifth on Iwakuma’s errant throw, the Yankees shut out Seattle over the final four innings. New York relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller made sure Seattle would not mount a comeback by striking out all six batters in the eighth and ninth innings.
In the eighth, Betances got Nori Aoki and Seth Smith swinging and Robinson Cano looking. Miller followed by punching out Nelson Cruz (looking), Kyle Seager (swinging) and pinch hitter Franklin Gutierrez (swinging).
Brett Gardner led off the fifth single and went to third on Carlos Beltran’s single. Iwakuma threw his second wild pitch of the season, a ball that went between the feet of C Steve Clevenger, to score Gardner with the game’s final run. New York posted the win despite going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
The Mariners scratched out six hits, one for extra bases, off Masahiro Tanaka, a former teammate of Iwakuma’s in Japan. Smith collected two and scored Seattle’s run in the first . . . Aoki tripled in the fifth and might have hadd an inside-the-park homer, but was held up halfway down the line. Aoki scored on Smith’s single . . . Clevenger started in place of Chris Iannetta and collected the first hit and RBI of his Seattle career in the fourth inning . . . Cano went 1-for-4 and extended to 15 his streak of consecutive road games with a hit, dating to last year . . . A-Rod’s homer in the second inning was the 689th of his career (fourth on the career list). He was hitting .100 when he came to the plate.
Iwakuma (0-2, 4.50) allowed a season-high four earned runs on eight hits over seven innings and remains winless this season. Iwakuma struck out three and walked two . . . Nick Vincent worked a 1-2-3 eighth . . . In winning two out of three in the series, Mariners pitchers held the Yankees to 1-for-35 with runners in scoring position, the second-worst percentage in any MLB series of at least three games since 1977. . . The Iwakuma-Tanaka pitching matchup was broadcast on live television in Japan — at 2 a.m. in Tokyo . . . Tanaka (1-0) yielded three runs — two earned — and six hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked none, improving to 4-0 in four career starts against Seattle.
“That was a great ball game. We were right in there and battled. The back end of their bullpen is really good. We had an opportunity in the first inning with the bases loaded and were looking for a little more than one run. We wanted to sweep, but the key is to win the series. Obviously, we’re playing a lot better on the road than we played at home.” — Seattle manager Scott Servais
Iwakuma’s start was the 100th of his major league career. He joined Hideo Nomo (318), Hiroki Kuroda (211), Tomo Okha (178), Daisuke Matsuzaka (132), Masato Yoshii (118) and Kazuhisa Ishii (102) as the Japanese pitchers with at least 100 MLB starts . . .The Mariners are 8-4 in the Bronx since the start of 2013 . . . Servais said Sunday he would be “careful” about using reliever Joaquin Benoit again after Benoit pitched Saturday for the first time since April 8. The setup man, who tossed a scoreless eighth, had been sidelined with tightness in his back and shoulder. “I’d like to give him some down time,” Servais said.
The Mariners are off Monday and begin a three-game series in Cleveland Tuesday. LHP Wade Miley (0-1, 8.25) will pitch the first game for Seattle opposite RHP Danny Salazar (2-0, 0.79).