The Mariners were introduced to Masahiro Tanaka one day later than anticipated, but the show came as advertised. The newest Yankees ace dominated Wednesday in front of a New York-friendly crowd of 28,434 at Safeco Field, sending Seattle to a 4-2 loss.
Tanaka pitched a complete game, struck out 11 and allowed two runs on six hits and one walk. He improved to 10-1 with an AL-leading 2.02 ERA.
“He’s pretty damn good,” manager Lloyd McClendon said of Tanaka. “Our guys battled their tails off all night, but he made exceptional pitches.”
Meanwhile, starter Chris Young was a little off against a patient New York (33-31) lineup. The Yankees scored first for the second consecutive game, taking a 1-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI single by Jacoby Ellsbury.
Young, who threw 31 pitches in the first inning, labored through his outing. It came to a head against Mark Teixeira in the fifth. After Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury singled to put runners on first and second with one out, Teixeira worked the count before hitting a fastball over the right-center field wall for his 11th home run and a 4-0 lead.
“I made a mistake to Teixiera,” Young said. “Pulled a fastball down and in into his wheelhouse and he hit it out. It’s a night where I needed to keep us close, give us a chance to win late, and I didn’t do it.”
Young (5-4, 3.68 ERA) lasted five innings after allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out two while taking his first loss in six starts at Safeco Field as a Mariner.
“He wasn’t very sharp tonight,” McClendon said. “Listen, this guy is a competitor. He hung in there and did as good as he could tonight . . . He’ll bounce back.”
Seattle (34-31) did not score until the ninth when Robinson Cano connected for his first Safeco Field home run as a Mariner. With James Jones on first after an infield single with one out, Cano drilled the first pitch he saw on a line over the left-center wall. Prior to the inning, the Mariners had two other opportunities to score off the 25-year-old.
After Tanaka retired the first 10 batters he faced, Jones delivered a single to right in the fourth inning. Cano hit into a fielder’s choice and Kyle Seager singled to put runners on first and second with two out. Tanaka came back to strike out Logan Morrison, activated off of the 15-day disabled list prior to the game.
Morrison was 0-for-4 in his first game back after missing nearly two months with a strained hamstring.
Of Tanaka, Dustin Ackley said, “He’s got all kinds of pitches, mixes it up well, keeps you off balance and I think that’s why he has success.
“I think you always look for the fastball, no matter what. You can’t look for the split or you can’t look for sliders. You just have to go up there, look for something up in the zone and try to square it up.”
In the eighth inning, Seattle put runners on first and third with one out after a Mike Zunino double and Brad Miller single only to see Cole Gillespie line into a double play as Miller was too far off the first-base bag.
It happens,” McClendon said of Miller being doubled off of first. “He knows it was an error, it happens — to everybody, to the best of baserunners.”
Seattle suffered its second consecutive loss after winning eight of its past nine games prior to returning home for the series against New York. After the game, another loss was announced as OF Michael Saunders went on the disabled list with an inflamed right AC joint. The Mariners will make a corresponding 25-man roster move Thursday.
Smoak, also on the 15-day DL, retroactive to June 10. . . The consecutive losses are Seattle’s first since May 29-30 versus the Angels and Tigers, also at home . . . Cano extended his hitting streak to nine games . . . Seahawks QB Russell Wilson and RT Russell Okung were on the field taking in batting practice Wednesday. Okung even took a hack (right-handed) and dribbled a ball down the first base line before exiting with a triumphant yell. DE Cliff Avril arrived later and threw out the first pitch.