Stifled at Yankee Stadium by Seattle Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez on Saturday, the New York Yankees bounced back to take Sunday afternoon's rubber match, winning 6-2 behind a serviceable outing on the part of Freddy Garcia (W, 5-5) (5.0 IP, 5H, 2R) and DH Raul Ibanez's three RBIs.
With New York leading 3-2 in the fifth, Ibanez launched a solo home run to right-center off Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma (L, 2-3) (5.0 IP, 7H, 4R, 3 ER). Then, batting against left-hander Oliver Perez with two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth, he lined a two-run single to left that stretched the Yankees' lead to four runs.
"At the beginning of that (sixth-inning) at-bat, it wasn't a very good one," said Ibanez, who fell behind Perez 1-2 before battling his way back to a full count. "Later on, once I got two strikes I was just trying not to do too much, trying to put the ball in play and trying to hit a line drive somewhere."
Ibanez's liner sailed over short, just beyond the reach of a leaping Munenori Kawasaki, bringing in a pair of add-on runs to send the Yankees on their way to a series win that should lessen the sting of Saturday's 1-0 loss to Hernandez and Seattle.
"It's a rubber match. It's definitely nice to get that," Ibanez said. "Their guy (Iwakuma) pitched well, and Freddy pitched well, he battled out there.
"Being able to put some runs on the board was big," he added.
Notes: The Yankees scored four of their runs Sunday with two outs. In addition to the two runs brought in by Ibanez's bases-loaded single in the sixth (runs charged to RHP Josh Kinney, not Perez), Derek Jeter had a two-out, run-scoring single in the fourth, and Dustin Ackley's second-inning fielding error at first on a Curtis Granderson grounder allowed Chris Stewart to score. ... Ex-Yankee Jesus Montero was Seattle's offensive standout on Sunday, knocking in both of his team's runs with singles in the first and fifth innings. ... Left fielder Ichiro Suzuki's double in the seventh increased his hitting streak to 12 games, tying a franchise record for any player to start their Yankees career (source: Elias Sports Bureau). Catcher Don Slaught, after being traded to New York from the Texas Rangers in November of 1987, began the '88 season with a 12-game hitting streak. ... Jeter scored the 1,830th run of his career when he was knocked in by Mark Teixeira (single) in the first inning, tying Frank Robinson for 14th place on Major League Baseball's all-time runs scored list. ... By beating the Mariners, Garcia, who had a three-game losing streak entering Sunday, recorded career win No. 150.