video thumbnail

NYY@SEA: Morrison lifts a solo homer to cut deficit

SEATTLE -- If the Mariners never see Derek Jeter again, it will be too soon, as the saying goes. But the retiring Yankees captain left his imprint on Safeco Field -- and all of its bases -- with a three-hit sendoff Thursday night to cap a three-game New York sweep with a 6-3 victory over Seattle.

Jeter went 3-for-4 with a walk, two runs and two RBIs, departing the field with a wave to a standing ovation from 40,596 after finally grounding out in the ninth.

"It's awkward when you're in the middle of a game and the game's not over, but the fans have been great all three games here," Jeter said. "I always have fond memories of Seattle, because this is where it began [in 1995]. Fans have always been good to me here, even when they get on you a little bit, they still respect you. But yeah, they were awesome."

Jeter went 7-for-12 in the series and now has the third-most hits of any Safeco visitor with 85, behind longtime American League West foes Michael Young (118) and Torii Hunter (87).

Mariners first baseman Logan Morrison tried to counter Jeter's visiting heroics with a 2-for-4 day that included his first home run and first two RBIs for Seattle. And he left with his own Jeter memory.

"He said after the first at-bat, 'Good luck and stay healthy, if I don't see you the rest of this series,'" said Morrison, who just came off the disabled list Wednesday. "And I'm like, 'I'm sure I'll be seeing you a lot more in this game.'"

Jeter indeeed seemed more at home -- and at first, second and third bases -- than the Mariners, whose struggles at Safeco Field continued. The Mariners have one of the best away records in the Majors at 20-14, but fell to 14-18 at home as they were held to two runs over 7 2/3 innings by rookie right-hander Chase Whitley.

Rookie Seattle southpaw Roenis Elias, who overpowered the Yankees with a 10-strikeout performance in the Bronx earlier in the season, lasted a season-low 3 1/3 innings while allowing six runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

"I thought he had some good stuff," said catcher Mike Zunino. "Obviously we had a big crowd today, and maybe he was a little excited and ready to go and let that get the best of him a little bit. But I thought his stuff was good, he just left it up a hair."

The 25-year-old Elias saw his record evened at 5-5 with a 4.13 ERA, with the six runs tying the most he's allowed in his 14 starts this season. Elias is 4-2 on the road, and 1-3 at home.

It was the Yankees' first series sweep at Safeco since they took a four-game set in 1999. The two teams finished their season series tied at 3, preventing Seattle from earning its first season advantage over the Yankees since going 5-4 in 2002.

Despite the three-game skid, the Mariners still are tied with the A's for the second-best record in the Majors (27-19) since April 23, and are 34-32 on the season, a half-game better than the Yankees' 33-32 mark.

But things didn't fall their way in this one as three different Yankees made catches at the top of the outfield wall -- Jacoby Ellsbury robbing Robinson Cano of a sure RBI double deep to center in the fifth; Brett Gardner taking away a Zunino drive to the same part of the park after replacing Ellsbury in center in the seventh; and Ichiro Suzuki patrolling his old right-field fence to snare Stefen Romero's shot in the ninth.

"We just weren't able to get it far enough in the gaps, and their outfielders did a good job getting to it and making some good plays," Zunino said. "They were keeping them all in the yard and saving their guy some runs. All you can do is try to square the ball up."

Morrison was the only one who cleared the fence, with his second-inning shot off Whitley, and he added an RBI double in the ninth as Seattle closed the final gap and forced Yankees closer David Robertson to come on for the final two outs.

Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon hopes Morrison can step up for a club that now has Michael Saunders, Justin Smoak and Corey Hart all on the disabled list.

"He swung the bat pretty good tonight. I was very pleased," McClendon said. "Hopefully he can get going, and that would be a big lift for us. We know what LoMo is. We know he's got some thunder in his bat."

Cano singled in the first inning to extend his hitting streak to a season-high 10 games, the 25th double-digit streak of his career. Cano went 1-for-2, with a walk and was hit by a pitch. He's leading the AL in average at .333, but was one of those robbed by the Yankees outfielders with his fifth-inning drive.

Shortstop Brad Miller was 2-for-4 with a double as he's hit .293 over the past 13 games to raise his average to .182.

MLB.com Comments