SEATTLE – Andrew McCutchen got the Yankees started and Dellin Betances made sure they hung on at the end.
McCutchen hit his second home run in two days, Betances pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning and New York held off the Seattle Mariners 4-2 on Saturday night.
Austin Romine hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh for the Yankees, who moved within 7 1/2 games of first-place Boston in the A.L. East with 20 to play. New York leads Oakland by 3 1/2 games for the league’s top wild card.
Seattle loaded the bases with one out against Betances, but he struck out Denard Span and Kyle Seager to earn his third save.
“Tonight he finds himself in a little bit of trouble, but he keeps making pitches,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He kept pounding the strike zone with his fastball and breaking balls, and he came up with a lot of big pitches in that inning. I was just proud of Dellin.”
Betances gave up a double to Mitch Haniger, hit Robinson Cano with a pitch and walked Nelson Cruz before buckling down.
“Everyone knows Betances has great stuff,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “We hoped to put a little pressure on him and we did. You have to try and look for a mistake. We got some traffic out there, but just didn’t get the big hit at the end. It’s frustrating. It’s been a struggle for a while. You have to square a few more balls up.”
With 20 games remaining, Seattle dropped 7 1/2 behind Oakland for the second A.L. wild card.
Yankees starter Lance Lynn (9-10) allowed three hits and two runs in six innings. He is 2-2 in eight starts with the team.
“My cutter was there tonight,” Lynn said. “For the most part, the command was probably the best it’s been all year. Most of it was just in my mind and telling myself not to do too much. Stay within yourself and do what you have to do to put it where you need to. And I was able to do that for the most part.”
Mariners starter Felix Hernandez left in the fifth with right hamstring tightness.
“I slipped a little on the second batter, but I felt it in my last start,” Hernandez said. “It was hard to push off.”
McCutchen led off the game by sending Hernandez’s changeup down the left-field line and into the seats for his second home run with the Yankees.
Mike Zunino tied it in the third with a homer to straightaway center, his 19th of the season.
Giancarlo Stanton gave New York a 2-1 lead in the fifth on a sacrifice fly to right. The inning started with back-to-back walks by Hernandez before he exited with the hamstring injury.
“Felix felt it more as the game went on,” Servais said. “He gave us what he had tonight. We’ll see how he feels going forward.”
A bloop single to left by Dee Gordon scored Ben Gamel from second and tied the game at 2 in the fifth.
Romine’s home run in the seventh off reliever Nick Vincent (3-3) put the Yankees back in front. Gleyber Torres added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
“It’s fun to contribute,” Romine said. “Every time you get in this game you want to help contribute for this team, whatever it is, however it is. We’ve got some boys who can put the ball in the seats. It’s fun to be a part of it.”