Seattle (26-25) has never swept New York at its current home and was playing at the Kingdome during a three-game set Aug. 26-28, 1996. Rodriguez’s two-run homer helped the Mariners to a 10-2 rout in the series finale.
The past two games against the Yankees (27-23) have been more competitive and followed the same pattern with Seattle rallying for a one-run victory in each.
The Mariners came back from a two-run deficit Saturday for their 10th win in 12 games, 5-4 in 12 innings. Adam Kennedy’s(notes) bases-loaded single put his team above .500 for the first time since April 3 and within one-half game of AL West-leading Texas.
To keep that fun going, Seattle might have to solve its woes against Sabathia (5-3, 3.17 ERA). The left-hander has a 0.75 ERA in five consecutive wins over the Mariners and is 7-1 with a 1.37 ERA in his last eight starts in Seattle.
He also enters this game searching for a season-high third consecutive win and has received plenty of help lately from Mark Teixeira(notes). The first baseman has six home runs in nine games and hit one of those to back Sabathia during a 13-2 rout of Baltimore on May 19.
Teixeira also gave his teammate his first nine-inning complete game victory in two years by driving in the winning run Tuesday in Toronto. Sabathia yielded eight hits in that 5-4 win after scattering seven hits and striking out a season-high nine over eight scoreless frames in Baltimore.
“My job is to keep it close and good things are going to happen,” said Sabathia, who has benefited from a major league-best 65 runs of support this season—18 in his last two starts.
The Mariners, meanwhile, will look to Jason Vargas(notes) (3-2, 3.86), who will try to bounce back from a difficult outing. The left-hander gave up five runs and walked a season-high four over 4 2-3 innings Monday in Minnesota after going 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his previous four outings.
Vargas avoided a loss when Seattle rallied for an 8-7 victory in 10 innings.
“He just didn’t have the command that we’ve seen him have,” manager Eric Wedge said. “I’m just glad that his teammates were able to pick him up.”
Vargas is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in three starts against the Yankees and was tagged for seven runs over 6 1-3 innings during a 9-5 loss in New York on Aug. 21.
To avoid another defeat, he might have to be careful with Robinson Cano(notes), who is 7 for 10 in his career against the left-hander. Teixeira is 2 for 9 with a double, while Rodriguez—riding an eight-game hit streak—is 0 for 4.
The Mariners’ Brendan Ryan(notes) is 15 for 28 (.536) with seven RBIs during his eight-game run. He’s batting .400 (12 for 30) during day games this season and is 1 for 3 versus Sabathia. Ichiro Suzuki’s(notes) 21 hits off the left-hander are tied for the most by one player.