Yankees at Mariners 9-19-09

September 19, 2009

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Saturday, September 19th (All times eastern)

New York Yankees (94-54) at Seattle Mariners (77-71), 10:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: New York – CC Sabathia (17-7, 3.42) Seattle – Doug Fister (2-2, 3.53)

(Sports Network) – CC Sabathia tries to become the American League’s first 18- game winner this evening, when the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners continue their three-game series at Safeco Field.

Sabathia won his seventh straight decision on Sunday against Baltimore, as he allowed three runs and five hits over seven innings to improve to 17-7 on the year to go along with a 3.42 earned run average.

The 29-year-old left-hander has not lost since falling to Tampa Bay back on July 28 and has allowed three runs or less in his last eight starts.

Sabathia beat the Mariners the last time he faced them, and is 5-4 in 13 starts against Seattle with a 3.21 ERA.

Seattle was able to slow down the Yankees in the opener of this set on Friday, as for the second straight game, Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki provided the heroics, belting a two-run homer off future Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning to lift the Mariners to a 3-2 win.

Rivera (3-3) was dominant in fanning both Jack Hannahan and pinch-hitter Mike Carp to start the frame, but pinch-hitter Mike Sweeney swung at the first pitch and deposited it in the right-center field gap for a double. Suzuki then launched the next offering to the seats in right for the first game-ending home run of his illustrious career.

“Mariano doesn’t leave many pitches over the middle of the plate,” Sweeney said. “He’s the best in baseball as a closer. We were fortunate to square up two balls and get out of there with a win.”

Prior to Friday, Rivera had a streak of 36 consecutive saves, which was the longest of his career. It’s his first blown save since April 24 at Boston.

“Two pitches cost the game. Beautiful game, to do that is unacceptable,” said Rivera, who recorded his 1,000th career strikeout. “The pitch was inside, but not enough.”

Suzuki finished 4-for-5 at the plate, a day after driving in the winning run in the 14th inning against the White Sox.

Franklin Gutierrez had two hits for the Mariners and sprinted home on a Jose Lopez single in the third.

Lost in the dramatic finish was a complete game effort by Felix Hernandez (16-5). The right-hander allowed two runs — one earned — on eight hits, walked one and struck out three, lowering his earned run average to 2.45.

Johnny Damon doubled twice and singled for the Yankees, who hold a six-game edge over the Red Sox in the AL East. New York’s two runs came via sacrifice flies by Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez.

A.J. Burnett was in line for the victory after yielding a run on seven hits with three walks and six strikeouts in seven strong frames.

Seattle, meanwhile, will give the ball to righty Doug Fister, who is 2-2 with a 3.53 ERA. Fister was charged with the loss on Sunday in Texas, as the Rangers touched him up for five runs and 10 hits in just 4 2/3 innings.

Fister beat the Yankees the only other time he faced them, surrendering three runs in seven innings back on August 16.

Seattle has lost 14 of its last 19 clashes with the Yankees, including five of eight tilts that took place this season. New York, though, won three of four from the Mariners at Safeco Field from August 13-16.

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