Ichiro Suzuki and Freddy Garcia were key figures for the best team in Seattle Mariners history. Now they are looking for glory with the New York Yankees as their careers wind down.
Suzuki has hit safely in all 11 games for the Yankees, but Garcia has dropped his last three starts heading into Sunday's series finale against the Mariners in the Bronx.
Seattle (51-58) is 9-3 since dealing Suzuki to New York (62-44) on July 23 - just before these teams met at Safeco Field - while the Yankees are 5-6 in that span.
Suzuki has exactly one hit in every game for the Yankees for his longest streak of the year, although he has failed to walk during it. He was the 2001 AL MVP as a rookie when the Mariners won 116 games and lost to New York in the AL championship series - the last time the 38-year-old Suzuki took part in the postseason.
Garcia (4-5, 5.10 ERA) won a career-high 18 games that season for Seattle, where he began his career in 1999. The 35-year-old Garcia has been with four different teams since leaving the Mariners, winning the World Series in 2005 with the White Sox and pitching in the playoffs last year with New York.
The right-hander has posted a 4.74 ERA in losing his last three outings, allowing three runs and nine hits over six innings Monday in a 5-4 defeat to Baltimore. He has received two runs of support in each loss.
Garcia had gone 4-0 with a 4.02 ERA in his previous six starts against the Mariners before giving up three runs over 7 1-3 innings in a 4-2 road loss opposite Venezuelan countryman Felix Hernandez on July 24.
Hernandez once again dominated in New York with a two-hitter in Saturday's 1-0 victory. The Mariners ace improved to 4-1 with a 1.13 ERA at the new Yankee Stadium.
After Robinson Cano doubled with two outs in the first inning, Hernandez didn't allow another runner to second base. Only seven balls were hit out of the infield.
"Our pitching was great, it's just unfortunate that Felix was a little better today," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Mike Carp had an RBI single in the second inning, and he and Eric Thames each had two hits.
Both have enjoyed success versus Garcia. Thames has three doubles in eight at-bats, Carp is 3 for 9 and Michael Saunders is 3 for 6 with a homer.
Seattle rookie Hisashi Iwakuma (2-2, 4.10) will make his sixth straight start and second against New York. He allowed one run over five innings July 25 and did not get a decision in a 5-2 loss.
The right-hander earned his first victory as a starter Monday by striking out 13 Toronto hitters and giving up one run over eight innings in a 4-1 win. That outing came two days after he returned from visiting his sick father in Japan.
"It's difficult, but I tried to do my best and just used the time with my father," Iwakuma told the Mariners' official website through an interpreter. "Even if it was just a short time, it was useful."
Yankees captain Derek Jeter went 3 for 3 with a homer last month against Iwakuma.
Jeter's shortstop counterpart, Seattle's Brendan Ryan, is likely to miss Sunday's game after getting hit by a pitch on his left elbow Saturday.