Freddy Steady, Yankees Back On Track
NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — A decade ago, Raul Ibanez and Ichiro Suzuki watched Seattle teammate Freddy Garcia establish himself as a big winner with a terrific fastball.
With the trio now dressed in Yankees pinstripes, Ibanez and Ichiro saw Garcia earn a victory with a much different repertoire.
Garcia posted his 150th career victory while Ibanez homered and drove in three runs as New York wrapped up a long and losing homestand by beating the Mariners 6-2.
“For me, it’s another win,” Garcia said. “Hopefully, more are coming.”
Garcia (5-5) hung around for five innings on a sticky afternoon and preserved a one-run lead with his final pitch, retiring Kyle Seager with two runners on base.
A two-time All-Star with the Mariners, the 35-year-old Garcia has since bounced all over the majors. In and out of the rotation this season, he ended a string of three straight losing starts and improved to 150-100.
Garcia wins these days with guile instead of gas. He got the young Mariners hitters to swing at off-speed pitches all around the strike zone.
“He’s had to reinvent himself,” Ibanez said. “It’s really his will and determination that’s made him great.”
Suzuki has seen the transformation, too.
“Back in 2001, he was throwing 95, 96 (mph),” Suzuki said through a translator. “The pitchers who can make that adjustment are going to be successful. Some can’t.”
The AL East-leading Yankees won for only the sixth time in 16 games. They went 4-5 against Boston, Baltimore and Seattle on their longest stay in the Bronx so far this season. On Monday night, they’ll face Tigers ace Justin Verlander in Detroit.
Garcia is the top winner in major league history among pitchers born in Venezuela. Johan Santana is next with 139 and Seattle star Felix Hernandez is farther down with 95.
“I still have the record,” Garcia kidded.
The Yankees could have pushed to acquire a new starter before the trade deadline, but stuck with Garcia who has turned his season around.
Boone Logan, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano combined for four innings of hitless relief.
“We kind of labored through that game there,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “We still need to get better with our pitch selection.”
Ibanez hit his 15th homer in the fifth, a solo drive off Hisashi Iwakuma (2-3) that put the Yankees ahead 4-2. Ibanez delivered again in the sixth with a two-out, two-run single off Oliver Perez with the bases loaded.
Suzuki continued to be a one-hit wonder.
The Yankees newcomer extended his hitting streak to 12 games, all since being traded from Seattle to New York, when his routine fly got lost in the sun and fell for a seventh-inning double.
Suzuki has gotten exactly one hit in each of those 12 games — Willy Aybar was the last big leaguer with such an odd streak, getting a single hit in 13 straight for the Dodgers in 2006, STATS LLC said.
Suzuki said he was getting more comfortable with his surroundings. That includes dealing with a tough glare in the outfield, and he looked into the sun for a stumbling catch.
“If it was getting harder and harder every day, I’m not worthy of wearing the Yankee uniform,” he said.
Jesus Montero hit a pair of RBI singles for the short-handed Mariners, who had won eight of nine. Shortstop Brendan Ryan was out a day after being hit by a pitch on the left elbow. Mike Carp singled home the game’s only run Saturday, then went to California after the game for the birth of his daughter.
The Mariners are the top-fielding team in the majors, though it hardly looked that way in the early innings.
In the first, center fielder Michael Saunders made an ill-advised throw, third baseman Chone Figgins had a ball pop out of his glove and Seager stayed back on the grass on Mark Teixeira’s grounder to second and played it into an RBI single.
The next inning, first baseman Dustin Ackley let Curtis Granderson’s hard grounder skip through his legs for a two-out error that scored a run.
Derek Jeter added an RBI single in the fourth.
NOTES: Injured RHP Mariano Rivera, LHP Andy Pettitte, 3B Alex Rodriguez and OF Brett Gardner joined the rest of the Yankees to greet season ticket-holders lined up on the warning track before the game for Photo Day.
Pettitte said he was going for another X-ray on his broken left leg, and Girardi said after the game that the longtime ace was “definitely better.” The Yankees still hope he can pitch again in September. Girardi said it was “99.9 percent” certain Rivera (torn right knee) wouldn’t return this year and that there was a chance the speedy Gardner (right elbow) could be activated next month, if only to pinch run. … Carp is expected to rejoin the team Monday night in Baltimore. Wedge said Ryan’s injury is day-to-day.
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