Former Mariner Raul Ibanez (1996-00, 2004-08), who hit 127 home runs wearing a Seattle uniform, ripped a three-run homer off Felix Hernandez in the bottom of the sixth inning Friday, lifting the New York Yankees to a 6-2 victory and spoiling the start of Seattle's 10-game, 10-day road trip.
Trailing 2-1, the Yankees got two runners aboard with no outs when Ibanez, 1-for-3 in his career against Hernandez, laced a first-pitch fastball that Hernandez left out over the plate for his sixth home run of the season. The Mariners never recovered.
Seattle went up 2-1 in the top of the inning when Jesus Montero, Yankees property until his January trade to Seattle for Michael Pineda, belted a home run to right, drawing a huge reaction from the crowd.
The Mariners (15-19) had ample opportunities to put runs on the board, but left two runners stranded in the second, both reaching with no outs, and three more in the fifth, all with just one out. For the Mariners, the only good news Friday was that they didn't have to deal with Mariano Rivera, out for the season with an injury.
"We had a bases-loaded situation (in the fifth inning) and that could have been the difference right there. But we didn't get it done," said manager Eric Wedge.
Hernandez (3-2, 2.29) took the loss after allowing a season-high 11 hits and four earned runs. He struck out seven and walked two. It marked his first loss at the new Yankee Stadium after going 3-0, 0.38 ERA. Hiroki Kuroda (3-4) collected the win, allowing two earned runs in 7.0 innings.
Dustin Ackley gave Seattle a 1-0 lead when he hit the third pitch of the game over the left-field wall, extending his hitting streak to seven games. The Yankees touched Hernandez for a run in the bottom of the inning when Curtis Granderson singled, stole second and came around to score on a Robinson Cano single to right (Cano entered the game batting .355 off Hernandez).
The Mariners got Kuroda on the ropes in the top of the fifth, loading the bases with one out. But Brendan Ryan, hitless in his seven previous at-bats, chased two balls down and away and whiffed, extending his futility to 0-for-8.
Montero gave Seattle a 2-1 lead in the top of the sixth when he sent a Kuroda fastball seven rows deep into the right-field stands. It was his fifth home run of the season.
The Yankees got runners on first and second with none out in the sixth. That's when Ibanez victimized his former employers, the 19th homer of his career against Seattle.
The Yankees tacked on two more runs in the eighth when Audruw Jones, pinch hitting for Eric Chavez, blasted a two-run bomb off Steve Delabar.
Justin Smoak, 2-for-20 on the recently concluded home stand, went 3-for-4 (all singles), lifting his batting average to .193. Smoak had Seattle's only multi-hit game.
In Saturday's second game of the series (1:05 p.m.), Hector Noesi (2-3, 6.30) takes on RHP Phil Hughes (2-4, 6.67). Noesi is coming off his best outing of the year, a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Twins May 6.
NOTES: The Mariners went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left seven men stranded . . . Kevin Millwood will start Sunday against Andy Pettitte, making his first appearance since 2010. Blake Beavan, who had been slated to start, hasn't recovered from getting drilled in his pitching elbow by a line drive last week. Jason Vargas will start for the Mariners Monday in Boston, with Beavan tentatively going Tuesday . . .Michael Saunders, who left three runners stranded, swiped his fourth base of the season, but also was caught stealing, the first time this year he has been nabbed . . . Robinson Cano of the Yankees went 4-for-4, leading New York's 14-hit parade.