SEATTLE (AP) – CC Sabathia allowed one run in eight innings, Andruw Jones lined a bases-clearing double to highlight the Yankees’ five-run third inning, and New York avoided a three-game sweep with a 7-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
Sabathia (6-3) was again the Yankees stopper. He won for the third time in four tries when pitching after a loss, allowing just two hits through five innings before giving up a solo homer to Seattle’s Justin Smoak in the sixth inning.
Swisher lined his homer in the second inning into the Yankees’ bullpen to give New York an early lead for the third straight day. But it was Jones’ double off Vargas (3-3) that broke the game open.
Sabathia won his sixth straight start against the Mariners and improved to 8-1 in 11 starts at Safeco Field. He’s gone at least eight innings in his last three starts – all wins – and gave up just five hits and struck out five on Sunday.
The Yankees’ big inning off Vargas started with Derek Jeter‘s second walk, although Jeter was later thrown out at home trying to score on Alex Rodriguez‘s infield grounder to third. Catcher Chris Gimenez made a nice play to grab a high throw from Chone Figgins and get the tag on Jeter in time.
Jeter was the second out of the inning, but Vargas’ problems were just starting. Cano singled sharply to right to score Curtis Granderson and give Cano eight hits in 12 career at-bats against Vargas. Swisher then walked on a 3-2 pitch that barely missed the outside corner to load the bases.
Vargas got ahead of Jones 1-2 before Jones fouled two straight pitches. Vargas then left a cutter over the outside corner and Jones drove it into the right field corner clearing the bases, although replays showed the inning should have ended with the Yankees ahead just 4-0. Swisher was tagged out on the elbow by Gimenez, but home plate umpire Gerry Davis’ view was blocked and called Swisher safe.
Eduardo Nunez then followed with a triple to deep left-center and Jones trotted home before Vargas finally got out of the inning. The Yankees sent nine batters to the plate.
New York added another in the fourth when Granderson doubled and scored on Mark Teixeira‘s single. All three of Vargas’ losses have come at home and his home ERA ballooned to 4.75 after giving up the six earned runs on Sunday.
Vargas in the only Mariners pitcher this season to fail to go at least four innings. He also got rocked in thei home opener against Cleveland was done after 3 1-3 innings that night.
Seattle’s best scoring opportunity against Sabathia came in the second, when it had a chance to bounce back after the Yankees took the lead, just like the first two games of the series.
Mike Wilson worked a one-out walk off Sabathia and Brendan Ryan lined a shot to right field, turning it into a sliding double when Swisher briefly bobbled the ball. But Jack Wilson struck out on a check-swing and Michael Saunders popped weakly to left field.
That was about it for the Mariners. Seattle loaded the bases with one out in the fifth only to see Ichiro Suzuki ground into an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play. Suzuki is hitless in his last 11 at-bats and his average has plummeted from .312 on May 11 to .272.
Figgins went 0 for 4 and is now hitless in his last 19 at bats.
NOTES: Seattle RHP David Pauley got the day off after picking up wins in relief in the first two games of the series. He was the first pitcher since 2002 to win consecutive games in relief and throw at least two innings in both victories. … Yankees C Russell Martin was given the day off due to the quick turnaround, but also because he fouled a pitch off his toe and it was sore, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. … After barely being used for 10 games, Seattle’s bullpen pitched 15 innings in the three-game series and allowed one run.