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Seattle Mariners

Yankees jump on Bryce Miller early, blast four homers off M’s pitching

By Ryan Divish Seattle Times

NEW YORK – The wistful hope of a four-game series sweep, which was something more than unlikely, ended under barrage of home runs. But a series win still remains a possibility for the Mariners.

Of course, giving up four homers in a game again isn’t likely to help their chances.

The New York Yankees delivered a painful reminder to the Mariners, specifically starter Bryce Miller, why they have been one of baseball’s best teams this season and sit among the leaders in home runs.

The duo of Juan Soto and Aaron Judge combined to hit three homers and drive in five runs off Miller and the Yankees added another later off the bat of Alex Verdugo to seal a 7-3 victory over the Mariners.

“Obviously, they’ve got a ton of power in their lineup and they put a showcase on tonight,” M’s manager Scott Servais said. “The guys at the top of the lineup did the damage against Bryce tonight. Some nights you have to tip your hat to the other club.”

The four homers allowed by the Mariners’ pitching staff were the most in any game this season while it was the fourth time the Yankees had hit four or more homers in a game. New York has 73 homers on the season – the most in MLB.

The barrage started almost immediately.

With one out in the bottom of the first and Anthony Volpe on first base, having reached on an infield single, Judge came to the plate. The former AL MVP had been largely quiet for first two games of the series. That changed when he stayed on a first-pitch slider that didn’t get off the plate enough. Judge lifted a high fly ball to right field that carried over the wall for his 14th homer of the season and a 2-0 lead.

“He’s strong and he hit that ball hard,” Miller said.

Outfielder Mitch Haniger moved like he might have a play, but the short porch in right field negated any attempt to catch it as it kept carrying.

Did Miller think it was gone off the bat?

“I had a feeling,” Miller said. “I saw him in an interview say, ‘Just get the ball in air to right field and you’ve got a chance.’ When he hit it, I looked up and I was like, that’s probably going to go. If I make a different pitch or a little better pitch, it doesn’t happen.”

Two innings later, with Volpe on first base again, Miller fired a 3-2 sinker on the outside corner of the plate. But Soto went with the pitch, taking a violent swing and sending a deep blast into the Yankees bullpen for his 12th homer of the season. The opposite-field blast traveled 414 feet, per MLB Statcast.

“He’s one of the best hitters in the league and he’s going good,” Servais said. “Both he and Judge, I mean, it’s quite a combo they have at the top of the lineup, and especially in this ballpark. They’re disciplined and they know they can take the ball out to the opposite field, that makes it even tougher to get them out.”

Hitting with power to the opposite field is something only the elite hitters in MLB, like Soto or Judge, can do with any sort of regularity.

How regular?

Well, Soto did it again, leading off the sixth. He jumped on a first-pitch sinker that was on the outside edge of the strike zone, sending a line drive over the wall in left field. The solo blast only traveled 379 feet for a 5-0 Yankees lead.

Miller finished the sixth inning, which was needed given the heavy usage of the Mariners’ bullpen.

His final line: six innings pitched, five runs allowed, five hits, no walks and four strikeouts.

“I thought Bryce threw the ball actually pretty well,” Servais said. “He was efficient and he threw strikes and his stuff was really good.

Volpe, Judge and Soto – the top three hitters in the order – had all of the hits off him.

“I just got to keep the ball in the park though,” Miller said. “If you give up five hits, usually three of them aren’t over the fence. But today, the ones that they hit, they cost me. I’ve just got to be better.”

The Mariners offense did little over the first seven innings. New York starter Nestor Cortes, who was briefly a Mariner back in 2020, pitched five scoreless innings, allowing three hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

“I thought we had Nestor on the ropes a little bit,” Servais said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t get anything across. We had chances.”

They had runners reach base in each of the first four innings, but couldn’t get a hit to score any of them.

Down 5-0, the Mariners made it a game in the top of the eighth. With one out and runners on first and second, Yankees manager Aaron Boone called on right-hander Luke Weaver to face Cal Raleigh.

Weaver, who was briefly a Mariner last season, converted to a full-time reliever with the Yankees this season. He entered the game having worked 18 straight scoreless innings. Raleigh ended that success with a line drive into the right-fields seats for his team-high 11th homer of the season.

But the possibility of a rally ended in the bottom of the eighth. Reliever Austin Voth walked Judge and then served up a towering two-run homer to Verdugo that killed any comeback chances for the Mariners.