Old-timers do just enough for Yankees

Scott Johnson, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


SEATTLE -- Ichiro Suzuki ended his first full trip to his former home by scoring the winning run for the New York Yankees on Sunday.
Suzuki scored from second base on a two-out single by Chris Stewart in the ninth inning, and the Yankees emerged with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners.
New York closer Mariano Rivera survived a shaky ninth inning to record his second save in as many days, his 23rd of the season and No. 631 of his career in his final appearance at Safeco Field.
Rivera, 43, announced before this season that he will retire after this year, and the Yankees (37-26) aren't scheduled to be back in Seattle.
"It's tough for the fans because, of course, they want to see Mariano pitch," said Suzuki, who spent 11 1/2 seasons as a Mariner before being traded to New York last July. "But if Mariano is pitching, that means the Mariners aren't winning. For the fans, it's tough. They can't have it both ways."
New York leadoff hitter Brett Gardner had four hits, three of which came off Mariners starter Felix Hernandez, but it was Stewart who came through in the clutch.
Suzuki led off the ninth with a walk, then moved to second on Jayson Nix's sacrifice bunt before Seattle reliever Yoervis Medina got Reid Brignac to fly out.
Stewart then drove Medina's pitch into left field, and Mariners left fielder Raul Ibanez was off-target with his throw as Suzuki slid home safely.
"Today was the kind of day when things weren't going my way," said Suzuki, who went 0-for-3 and dropped a fly ball in foul territory for his second error of the season. "I was definitely fortunate to score the game-winning run."
The game-winning single capped off a 2-for-4 day for Stewart.
"It's really nice," he said. "Usually I'm not in that spot. Fortunately, (Yankees manager) Joe (Girardi) had confidence in me."
The Yankees loaded the bases before Seattle's Oliver Perez caught Mark Teixeira for an inning-ending strikeout, Teixeira's fourth of the game.
Kyle Seager led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off Rivera, but that threat was quickly extinguished when Kendrys Morales grounded into a double play.
Rivera walked former Yankee Ibanez and gave up a single to pinch hitter Endy Chavez before Michael Saunders flied out to left field on the first pitch he saw to end the game.
David Robertson (4-1) earned the win, while Yankees starter David Phelps turned in six solid innings of three-hit, one-run ball.
The Mariners got a scare in the seventh inning when Hernandez struck out Stewart for the second out but was visibly shaken afterward.
Manager Eric Wedge and trainer Rick Griffin went to the mound to check on Hernandez, who was simply out of breath and stayed in the game.
"I couldn't even breathe," Hernandez said after the game. "I don't know if it was adrenaline. ... I was fine after 30 seconds."
Gardner, who already had three hits off Hernandez, struck out to end the inning, and Seattle turned to left-hander Charlie Furbush to start the eighth.
Hernandez threw 108 pitches, allowing five hits and one run over seven innings. He struck out seven.
It marked the 22nd time in Hernandez's career that he has not earned a decision despite going seven or more innings and giving up one run or none. That's the most in baseball since Hernandez's August 2005 defeat, with veteran left-hander Cliff Lee ranking second at 17, according to statistics researched by the Mariners.
The story Sunday was a familiar one in that Seattle couldn't get Hernandez any run support. The Mariners had just six hits, three of which came after Hernandez exited the game.
"We can't keep watching this," Wedge said. "We've got to do better offensively. ... We've damn sure got to be better than this. I know we're beat-up, we're tired -- and I appreciate that -- but we've got to be better than this."
The only run Hernandez allowed came on Gardner's single in the second that drove in Nix for a 1-0 Yankees lead.
The Mariners got the run back in the bottom of the second, when Brendan Ryan had an infield single to drive in Kelly Shoppach to tie the score.
The weekend series marked the first full trip to Seattle for Suzuki, who played at Safeco Field as a Yankee last season after a mid-series trade from the Mariners.
"With the way things were going for me out there, I was just glad when the game was over," Suzuki said. "I was glad I didn't lose a ball in the sun in the ninth or something."
NOTES: OF Michael Morse was back on the bench Sunday, and Wedge said Morse would get another day or two off to rest his strained quad. Morse missed eight games because of the injury before coming back late last week, but he had only one hit in 11 at-bats over three games. ... Gardner singled off Hernandez to open the game, extending his hitting streak to seven games, then added hits on each of his next two at-bats. After a seventh-inning strikeout, Gardner is batting .375 (9-for-24) against Hernandez in his career. ... Before Sunday's game, the Mariners traded 3B Vinnie Catricala to Oakland. Catricala, who was playing at Double-A Jackson, had been designated for assignment so the Mariners could clear a spot on the 40-man roster for RHP Jeremy Bonderman last week. ... With his first-inning stolen base, the 147th of his career, Gardner moved into 13th place on the Yankees' all-time list. Gardner is tied with Bernie Williams and Tony Lazzeri. ... The announced crowd of 46,389 was the largest at Saefco Field this season.