NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Yankees have never been swept in a three-game series at their new ballpark. The Seattle Mariners were nearly the first to accomplish that feat in their last visit to the Bronx.
New York looks to win its fourth in a row when it begins a three-game set at Yankee Stadium against the last-place Mariners on Friday night.
Since the new Yankee Stadium opened last season, New York (75-46) has posted a major league-best 97-45 home record. Despite Alex Rodriguez missing his third straight game with a strained left calf, the Yankees won their first series this month and improved to 40-21 at home with an 11-5 win over Detroit on Thursday.
“Big hits by a lot of people,” said manager Joe Girardi, whose team is averaging 8.7 runs during the win streak. “Our guys are picking up the slack.”
Second baseman Robinson Cano is batting .417 while homering in a career-best three straight games, and Curtis Granderson is 3 for 10 with two homers during that stretch.
Cano and Granderson, though, went a combined 4 for 21 as the Yankees dropped two of three to the visiting Mariners (48-73) from June 29-July 1. It was Seattle’s first series win in the Bronx since 2003.
Right-hander Felix Hernandez (8-10, 2.62 ERA), who starts the series opener, struck out 11 and tossed a two-hitter in a 7-0 win June 30 in his first start at new Yankee Stadium.
Hernandez, 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA in two starts against New York this season, receives among the lowest run support in the AL at 3.24. He is 1-4 with a 2.04 ERA in his last five outings, with Seattle scoring four times.
The Mariners are averaging a league-low 3.3 runs and are among the worst in the AL with 75 homers, but they are looking to build on back-to-back victories over Baltimore that improved their record to 6-3 under interim manager Daren Brown.
Rookie Matt Tuiasosopo has two homers and seven RBIs in the last two games and could start in the infield Friday with Michael Saunders expected to return to left field after sitting with a sore right shoulder.
“We have two young kids here, Saunders and Tui, and we need to see what they can bring to the table on an everyday basis,” Brown told the Mariners’ official website.
Seattle continues its season-high 12-game trip against A.J. Burnett (9-10, 4.66), who hasn’t won in his last two starts despite a pair of solid outings.
The right-hander has a 2.40 ERA in those appearances, allowing one run and four hits over a season high-tying eight innings in a 1-0 loss at Kansas City on Sunday.
Burnett is 3-3 with a 3.47 ERA in his last eight starts after going 2-7 with a 7.71 ERA in his previous 10.
“I really felt in control,” Burnett told the Yankees’ official website. “… It got away from me a couple of times, but I knew I could get it back.”
Burnett is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in five starts against Seattle.
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is batting .326 with three homers against Hernandez, while Nick Swisher has four home runs in 31 at-bats.
Ichiro Suzuki, 6 for 15 against Burnett, is batting .339 in 43 games in the Bronx.
New York last won four in a row at home during a season-best 9-0 stretch May 30-June 15.
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