NEW YORK — Robinson Cano shrugged off the boos in his return to Yankee Stadium and walked away a two-time winner.
Cano doubled and drove in two runs to help the Seattle Mariners beat the New York Yankees 4-2 Thursday night behind an impressive pitching performance from rookie Roenis Elias.
Michael Saunders had three hits, including an RBI double, and Elias struck out 10 in seven innings as the Mariners won their fifth in six games following an eight-game skid. Seattle took both games in a rain-shortened series that marked Cano’s first trip back to New York after leaving for a $240 million, 10-year contract last offseason.
“Both days felt good because both days we won, so it has to feel good,” Cano said.
The All-Star second baseman was booed again and finished the series 2 for 9 with three RBIs. Seattle has won four straight at Yankee Stadium dating to last season.
“There weren’t any expectations from the crowd today. I just wanted to go out and take care of business,” Cano said. “You have to understand the fans, but it is not going to be a distraction for me.”
Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda (2-3) gave up four runs — three earned — and seven hits in six innings, lowering his ERA slightly to 5.14. It was an improvement over his previous outing Friday night, when the 39-year-old right-hander was hammered in a 13-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. “A lot of nights that’s going to be good enough to win.”
Elias (2-2) gave up a leadoff homer to Jacoby Ellsbury but not much else in his first appearance against the Yankees. The left-hander from Cuba threw 73 of 110 pitches for strikes, starting 75 percent of his 28 batters with a strike. He allowed six hits and one earned run while walking two.
Yoervis Medina worked a perfect eighth, and Fernando Rodney got three outs for his sixth save.
“The adrenaline comes from the spotlight,” Elias said through a translator. “I’ve never been to the stadium so it was good to come here and beat the Yankees. I’ve seen it on TV but never been here.”
Ellsbury, who sat out Tuesday with a sore left hand, sent Elias’ fourth pitch to right field for his first home run with the Yankees. It was New York’s first leadoff shot since Derek Jeter connected at the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 21, 2012.
Elias, who skipped Triple-A, struck out the next three batters and settled in from there. Showing good command of a sharp curve, he induced two double-play grounders and struck out the side in the fifth.
“He was hitting his spots. He was getting ahead. He pitched a good game. He’s got a good arm,” Jeter said. “Sometimes pitchers are going to be better than you. He threw really well. He’s not a typical lefty who tries to trick you. He gets it up there pretty good.”
Cano hit an RBI double in the first and a run-scoring groundout in the third after Jeter made an error at shortstop.
Brad Miller dumped a two-out RBI single in front of hesitant left fielder Brett Gardner in the fourth. Saunders followed with a ground-rule double that made it 4-1.
New York cut it to 4-2 in the sixth on Brian McCann’s run-scoring single with two outs after Cano was charged with an error. Elias retired Yangervis Solarte with two on to end the inning.
The Yankees did not get another baserunner until a two-out single by pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki in the ninth.
“The young man threw a tremendous game. We thought he’d be OK in this environment,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said about Elias. “The young man is tough.”
After the rainout Wednesday, the Mariners pushed back ace Felix Hernandez one day to Friday night in Houston. Elias had been scheduled to start Wednesday, followed by Hernandez on Thursday. “Give him an extra day and it also gives Elias an extra day. It just made sense,” McClendon said. “Felix has been taxed quite a bit and he’s pitched on regular rest for quite a while. It’s an opportunity to get him where we need him to be. His last two outings have not been sterling outings, I think we would agree. So it gives us a chance to freshen him up and get him back on the right track.” … Seattle has not announced a starter for Saturday or Sunday. McClendon said it’s possible All-Star RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) will come off the disabled list to make his season debut this weekend. … McClendon sat struggling CF Abraham Almonte, who was replaced by Saunders in the leadoff spot. Almonte entered on defense in the eighth. … Many players on the Mariners received autographed Jeter jerseys — but not Cano. … Ellsbury has 11 career leadoff homers.