Trips to the East usually spell doom for the Seattle Mariners, but the Mariners have kept their hot play going taking two of three games from the A.L. East leading New York Yankees. After starting the season 4-9 on the road, including three series loss including a series loss to the lowly Astros, the Mariners have gone 5-3 winning both three-game series (Blue Jays and Yankees) and splitting a two-game set with Pittsburgh. Even more important, Seattle used this series win to pull themselves within one game of .500 at 20-21.
Disappointing Start. The Mariners looked to kick the road trip off right Tuesday night sending ace Felix Hernandez to the mound. Hernandez handcuffed the Yankees through six innings and left with a 3-1 lead. New York, however, rallied for three runs in the seventh inning off Yoervis Medina and Charlie Furbush to take a 4-3 lead. The Mariners put Dustin Ackley in scoring position in the eighth inning before stranding him, and future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera nailed the door shut in the ninth getting the Mariners 1-2-3.
Former Yankees. Raul Ibanez had a great season in New York last season, hitting 19 HRs for the Yankees. Ibanez sparked the Mariners to a seven run first inning with a grand slam, and he added a two-run home run in the fifth inning as the Mariners cruised to a 12-2 win Wednesday. For the series, Ibanez hit three home runs and drove in eight runs. Going into the rubber match, the Mariners had to scratch scheduled starter Aaron Harang who had back issues. For the spot start, Seattle turned to Hector Noesi. Noesi, who has done an admirable job in long relief this season, came through going 4.1 innings allowing three hits and one unearned run. Seattle relied on their bullpen the rest of the way as Oliver Perez, Yoervis Medina, Lucas Luetge, Carter Capps, and Tom Wilhelmsen finished off the 3-2 win for Seattle. Wilhelmsen notched his 11th save turning away the Yankees in the ninth inning, and he hasn’t allowed a run since April 5th, his second appearance of the season. His ERA on the year dropped to 0.50.
Four in Cleveland. The nine game road trip continues as Seattle visits Cleveland for four. The Mariners will have every starter going except Harang as the series lines up with Maurer and Saunders before flipping back to the top of the rotation with Hernandez Sunday and Iwakuma in the finale on Monday. The Mariners will be playing their second straight division leader as Cleveland is tied with Detroit for the A.L. Central lead. The Indians are coming off two two-game series splits. They spilt a doubleheader on Monday with the Yankees at home to begin the week, and they split a two game series in Philadelphia on Tuesday and Wednesday. Seattle has yet to play Cleveland this season; they were 4-4 against the Indians in 2012.