Soriano hit a two-run homer in a 10-run third inning, and Giambi later added a three-run shot as the Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 16-5 Thursday night.
David Wells, 12 days shy of his 40th birthday, improved to 5-0 for the first time in his career. The Yankees took two of three from Seattle in a matchup of division leaders, just as they did last week in New York.
“They are a great ballclub,” Seattle pitching coach Bryan Price said. “You give them an inch and they take a mile. They took a couple of miles in this series.”
The powerful Yankees lineup had 17 hits and set a season high for runs. And they did it the night after Mike Mussina improved to 7-0 with a dominating performance in a 7-2 win that swung the momentum in three-game set.
“I’m just following suit,” Wells said. “I’m following a guy who’s the best pitcher in the game right now. You just want to keep up with Mike Mussina. You know what he’s doing, and I’m getting the run support, getting the good defense.”
After allowing three runs and six hits in two innings, Wells retired 16 of his next 18 batters. It didn’t hurt that he had plenty of time to refocus in the clubhouse during the third.
“I was trying to stay loose, laying on a hot pack, walking around, just trying to keep my body loose,” Wells said.
Erick Almonte added a two-run double in the third as the Yankees scored 10 runs in an inning for the first time since Sept. 25, 1996, in the first game of a doubleheader against Milwaukee.
The 16 runs were the most ever allowed by the Mariners at Safeco Field, beating the previous mark of 15 on Aug. 15, 2000, against Detroit.
The Mariners’ record for most runs allowed in an inning is 11 against Detroit on April 29, 1999.
Wells (5-0) threw seven innings, allowing eight hits and three runs with four strikeouts and no walks. He got his 190th big league victory and won for the 17th time in his last 19 decisions dating to last season.
He was inspired by the death of Steve Allen, his Little League coach in the San Diego area. Wells planned to travel for services Friday, then rejoin the Yankees for a series in Oakland.
“He was a mentor to me,” Wells said. “He taught me how to play the game of baseball. He taught me how to keep score. He knew I didn’t have a father. He’d always come grab me on weekends.”
Soriano broke a 1-for-19 slump with three RBIs and three hits, increasing his major league-leading total to 52.
“I think the slump is over,” Soriano said.
The Yankees battered Freddy Garcia (3-4), who came in with a 4-1 career record and 2.63 ERA against New York. He seemed ready to improve those numbers after retiring six of his first seven batters, throwing 17 pitches in two innings.
“It looked like he was on his way to a classic night,” Price said.
That’s when everything unraveled for the Mariners.
New York erased a 3-0 deficit with seven hits in the third, sending 13 batters to the plate.
“I’ve been on the other end a few times. It’s no fun,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
Garcia was replaced after Almonte’s two-run double gave the Yankees an 8-3 lead, and Soriano greeted reliever Julio Mateo with a 373-foot homer to right.
Soriano also singled earlier in the inning and scored twice. Raul Mondesi singled, walked and scored twice.
Garcia hit Giambi with a pitch to load the bases, then walked Bernie Williams on a 3-2 count to force home a run.
“He was cruising along, then he hit me and it fell apart for him,” said Giambi, who broke a 7-for-38 skid. “We got hits here and there. We singled him to death. The train kept going. There wasn’t one big hit. It was a fister here, a fister there.”
Garcia was booed when manager Bob Melvin finally lifted him.
“I don’t know what happened tonight,” Garcia said. “I felt pretty good in the bullpen but I got hit pretty good. I didn’t have enough juice.”
Every Yankees batter except Giambi and Mondesi had an RBI in the inning.
Garcia went 2 2-3 innings, allowing nine runs on seven hits.
Giambi homered in the seventh, boosting New York’s lead to 15-3. Mondesi added an RBI triple in the eighth.
Matsui finished the three-game series 6-for-15 with five RBIs on three doubles and a homer. Ichiro Suzuki was 5-for-13 with three RBIs. … The Yankees are 15-4 on the road and boosted their road scoring average to 8.3 runs. … New York scored 15 runs at Minnesota on April 21. … Garcia’s ERArose from 3.83 to 5.40. … The Yankees have won six straight road series.