Michael Morse belted a decisive home run in the sixth inning, Hector Noesi gave the Mariners an outstanding emergency start, and the Mariners held on to beat New York 3-2 Thursday night to take two of three from the Yankees. It marked Seattle’s first series win at Yankee Stadium since 2004.
With the victory, nailed down with Tom Wilhelmsen’s 11th save in 11 opportunities, the Mariners (20-21) moved percentage points ahead of the Oakland Athletics into second place in the AL West.
The Mariners are 5-0-1 in their last six series after beginning the season 0-5-2 in their first seven. They have won 12 of their past 18 games.
Morse hit the game-winner off former Mariner Shawn Kelly in the sixth, then Seattle withstood several threats by New York to take the lead. The Yankees had a runner in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, but Wilhelmsen induced Robinson Cano to ground out to short.
Noesi, who hadn’t pitched in 11 days, started for Seattle as a replacement for Aaron Harang, who couldn’t go due to lower back stiffness. Noesi, 4-14 in his major league career with 5.27 ERA entering the contest, had surprising success against the Yankees, holding them to one unearned run in 4.2 innings.
After Noesi departed with a 2-1 lead, the Seattle bullpen took over and nursed the edge until the sixth when Morse homered. After New York scored in the seventh, a combination of Carter Capps and Wilhelmsen closed it out.
Noesi allowed three hits with four strikeouts and one walk.
The Mariners collected their first run in the second inning, Kendrys Morales opening the frame by walking on four pitches. After a Morse single, Dustin Ackley doubled to right, scoring Morales.
The Yankees answered in the bottom of the inning when David Adams doubled, scoring Curtis Granderson, but the Mariners took a 2-1 lead in the fourth. After loading the bases on a Morales single and walks by Morse and Jesus Montero, weak-hitting Brendan Ryan (.132) came through with a clutch single.
The Yankees had runners on first and third with one out in the fifth, but Oliver Perez, having replaced Noesi, escaped the jam. Perez was credited with the victory.
Morse homered on a 1-1 count off Kelly, his 10th of the season and 17th RBI. The Yankees put two aboard off Perez in their half of the inning, but came up with nada.
In the seventh, Ichiro singled and Chris Stewart walked against Yoervis Medina, who got two outs and departed. The Yankees scored off Lucas Luetge on a Cano infield single.
The Yankees had the tying run 90 feet way with one out in the ninth but Wilhelmsen, consistently hitting 97 mph with his fastball, closed out.
The Mariners move on to Cleveland for a four-game series Friday night. In an unusual schedule twist, the series will end on Monday instead of Sunday. Seattle’s 22-year-old rookie, Brandon Maurer (2-5, 5.97 ERA), will attempt to win his first road game against Ubaldo Jimemez (3-2, 5.55 ERA), looking for his fourth consecutive victory.
NOTES: Harang still has not faced the Yankees despite his 12 seasons in the majors . . . Felix Hernandez (1.53) and Hisashi Iwakuma (1.84) have a combined 1.68 ERA in 18 starts this season. Iwakuma (5-1) has a 2.34 ERA in 25 career starts . . . Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has appeared in 17 games and has retired the first batter he’s faced 16 times. He’s 11-for-11 in save opportunities . . . Former Mariner Ichiro went 1-for-12 in the series. With his seventh-inning single, he broke an 0-for-22 slide.
OK, who are these guys, and what have you done with the real Mariners? I want some answers. Now.
Seriously though, it’s nice to see them playing a little better after that horrendous start. Mind you, I still don’t see them being any more than a .500 ballclub, but maybe they’ll finish ahead of Houston.
Finally won a series against the Yankees in NYC. Been waiting for that for awhile. Hope they do as well against the Indians.