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Seattle Mariners

Dylan Moore homers twice, Bryan Woo baffles Yankees hitters in Mariners’ win

Ryan Divish Seattle Times

NEW YORK — Dylan Moore isn’t quite ready to return to the role of a bench player and sometime starter with the return of regular shortstop J.P. Crawford.

While he’s still a player without an everyday position, Moore knows that the key to keep playing regularly for manager Scott Servais is to continue to produce at the plate.

If he’s hitting, he’ll find a way into the lineup and one of the seven positions he can play.

As if he didn’t do enough in Crawford’s absence, Moore gave Servais another reason to keep playing him on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Moore drove in four runs on a pair of homers and a single to help lead the Mariners to a 6-3 victory over the Yankees.

“I love to play,” Moore said. “And I love to hit. If you hit, you play.”

Moore has been one of Seattle’s best hitters over the past few weeks. In his last 13 games, he’s hitting .333 (14 for 42) with five doubles, a triple, four homers, 13 RBI, six walks and nine strikeouts.

Servais isn’t sitting him

“Absolutely not, he’ll play tomorrow,” Servais said. “We’ll play him in left field tomorrow. We’re facing a lefty and we’ll get some other guys back in the lineup. Hopefully, (Jorge) Polanco can join us tomorrow, but this is what it takes, everybody chipping in and it doesn’t matter where you are on the field.”

The Yankees returned to the Bronx riding a seven-game win streak that included road sweeps of the Twins and the awful White Sox. Seattle has now handed them back-to-back losses at home for the first time this season.

The Mariners improved to 27-22, with the five games over .500 being their highest this season. They are the only team with a winning record in the AL West.

“Heck of an effort tonight,” Servais said. “And it starts with the guy on the mound.”

Seattle got a stellar start from right-hander Bryan Woo, who was returning to the place where he got his first MLB win in 2023.

With his parents and several other family members and friends cheering loudly in the stands, Woo pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with no walks and seven strikeouts to get the win. Working on a pitch limit of 85, Woo was remarkably efficient, needing only 77 pitches to cover the six innings.

“It’s just good to get a win,” Woo said. “When you come in here, you’ve gotta be ready to go. There’s no messing around, falling behind and whatnot. They’re gonna be ready to go, the crowd is gonna be ready to go, so you’ve got to be ready to go. It just raises your game a little bit. If you really enjoy competing and being in environments like this, then it’s just a lot of fun.”

Using his four-seam fastball heavily and showing excellent command with the pitch, Woo fired first-pitch strikes to 15 of the 20 batters he faced and had only three counts that reached three balls. He was on the attack from his first pitch. He was able to elevate the fastball to generate 10 swings and misses on the pitch.

“You really have to pitch that way against this ballclub,” Servais said. “You get into bad counts that’s what they kind of feed off. When they’re getting in to hitters counts and taking advantage of it. Bryan did not allow that to happen. He stayed on the attack against a really good lineup. He went after some of the best hitters in the league and was in total control of the strikes zone all night long.”

Since he’s returned from the injured list, Woo has made three starts and allowed one run in 15 2/3 innings pitched with two walks and 15 strikeouts and a 2-0 record.

Woo’s teammates rewarded him with atypical run support while he was in the game. Grinding out at-bats against starter Clarke Schmidt and building his pitch count at rapid rate, Seattle grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third inning.

Josh Rojas snapped a 0-for-15 stretch with a one-out double down the first-base line. Down early in the count, Moore worked it full and yanked a cutter into the left-field seats for a two-run homer and a 2-0 lead.

“I was trying to get used to Schmidt’s different pitches and the way they move earlier in the AB,” Moore said. “I was trying to get him up in the zone and I was able to get the head of the bat out.”

It took Schmidt 100 pitches to make it through five innings, ending his outing early.

“It’s always important to do that even with a team that has a good bullpen,” Moore said.

The Yankees do not have a good bullpen. And the Mariners exploited it.

Seattle picked up two more runs for Woo in the top of the seventh. Ty France greeted right-hander Dennis Santana with a solo homer to left field. France clobbered a 1-0 sinker from Santana, sending a blast into the bleachers that was measured at 402 feet.

“We faced him a lot last season when he was with Texas,” France said. “I knew he was going to throw me a lot of sinkers.”

Mitch Garver followed with a double to left and later scored on Moore’s single up the middle to make it 4-0.

But the comfortable lead was erased quickly as the bullpen created its own mess in relief of Woo.

Gabe Speier walked Aaron Judge to start the issues. He came back to strike out Alex Verdugo, but then hit Anthony Rizzo with a pitch. With the Yankees bringing in Giancarlo Stanton to pinch-hit for left-handed hitting Austin Wells, Servais went to right-hander Trent Thornton to work out of the jam.

When Stanton hit a towering pop-up behind the plate that Cal Raleigh managed to catch despite stepping on a weight-bat sleeve in the on-deck area, it seemed like Thornton might be able to maintain the 4-0 lead. Instead, Gleyber Torres hit a 3-2 fastball into the left-field seats to trim Seattle’s lead to 4-3.

But just as the crowd of 37,257 started to get boisterous, Luke Raley and Moore quieted them.

Leading off the eighth inning, Raley greeted reliever Clayton Andrews by hammering the lefty’s first pitch into the right field seats to push the lead back to 5-3.

Moore capped off his big night in the ninth inning. He worked a 3-1 count on hard-throwing right-hander Nick Burdi and then didn’t miss the fastball he expected, sending a deep drive into the right field seats for his second homer of the game.