Yankees edge punchless Mariners
SEATTLE – Mariners manager Eric Wedge is tired of watching his team struggle at the plate.
Chris Stewart had a tiebreaking RBI single in the ninth inning and David Phelps matched efforts with Felix Hernandez for six innings to help the New York Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 2-1 on Sunday.
The Mariners (27-37) rank second to last in the American League in runs scored with 229 and are averaging just 3.57 runs per game.
“We can’t keep watching this. We’ve got to be better offensively,” Wedge said. “When we do create opportunities, we’re not taking advantage of them.”
The Mariners scored just seven runs as the Yankees took three of four games in this series.
“We had a couple chances to win yesterday and (Sunday) and we didn’t do it,” Wedge said. “Until the offense gets going, it’s a fight through every game. You’ve got to get going offensively so you can loosen up and play.
“We’ve got guys out there capable of doing it,” he said. “But they’ve got to do it.”
David Robertson (4-1), who worked out of an eighth-inning jam, earned the victory.
Mariano Rivera allowed two hits and a walk in the bottom of the ninth in finishing for his 23rd save in 24 opportunities this season and majors-best 631st of his career. Rivera has converted 37 of 39 save chances in his career against Seattle.
Kyle Seager opened the ninth with a single, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. But he was eliminated on a doubleplay grounder to first by Kendrys Morales. Raul Ibanez walked and pinch-hitter Endy Chavez singled to left but Michael Saunders flied out to left to end it.
The Mariners had their best chance to go ahead in the eighth. Alex Liddi opened with a double to right off Robertson. Ryan sacrifice him to third. But Robertson struck out Jason Bay and Nick Franklin.
“I was just looking to hit it,” said Bay, on his at-bat. “There’s times I strike out as much as anybody but by the time he threw three nasty curveballs there was really not a lot I could do.”
Brett Gardner had four hits for the Yankees, finishing 8 for 14 for the four-game series. It was his second four-hit game this season.
Phelps worked six innings, allowed just three hits, one run and struck out six. He walked three. Hernandez went one inning deeper, giving up five hits and two walks in seven innings. He allowed a run and struck out seven.
The Yankees had their best chance to get to Hernandez early, loading the bases in the first inning. Gardner singled to right and, with two outs, Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells walked. It was the first time Hernandez issued back-to-back walks this season.
Suzuki then struck out on a pitch in the dirt.
Hernandez threw 26 pitches in the inning, the second most pitches he has thrown in an inning this season. That ultimately limited his staying power at the back end, leaving after throwing 108 pitches through seven.
“The first inning we had a couple full-count walks but we really forced him to make pitches all day,” Stewart said. “We were not just going up there swinging. It had a wear and tear on his body. He really had to work out there. Going seven is still pretty good, but we were lucky to get him out then.”
Hernandez said, “I was struggling the first two innings. I was opening too quick. I was up and wild. After that, I just tried to calm down and make good pitches.”
The Yankees pushed a run across in the second. Jayson Nix opened with a single through the right side and stole second. With one out, Stewart reached on a bunt, moving Nix to third. Gardner sent him home with a single to center.
But the Mariners came right back in the bottom half. Kelly Shoppach hit a one-out double to left and Michael Saunders moved him to third with a groundout. He scored on Brendan Ryan’s infield single.
That would be the last hit by the M’s over the next 51/3 innings. Phelps retired 10 straight batters at one point, five by strikeouts.
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