The Mariners continue to score more runs on the road, and starter Nathan Karns battles through five innings.
NEW YORK — In just one game at Yankee Stadium, the Mariners equaled the total number of runs they scored in their first five home games of the season at Safeco Field.
Through a small sample of just 10 games, these Mariners are showing the propensity of past Seattle teams to be more productive on offense on the road. It continued Friday night.
After lamenting his team’s recent inability to manufacture runs and display offensive versatility before the game, manager Scott Servais watched as his offense banged out 12 hits, made productive outs, executed in situational hitting and displayed some pop in an easy 7-1 win over the Yankees.
Mariners @ N.Y. Yankees, 10:05 a.m., ROOT Sports
“We finally saw it,” he said. “We played a nice ballgame offensively. We got the line moving and kept pressure on them for multiple innings. It was a nice job.”
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It was the second straight win for Seattle (4-6).
For the first three innings against Yankees starter Luis Severino, it looked as though Seattle’s home hitting struggles followed the team east.
But amidst a chorus of boos welcoming his return to Yankee Stadium, Robinson Cano jump-started the Mariners’ offense with a RBI single in the fourth inning, tying the score at 1-1.
From there, Seattle worked over Severino for three more runs and never looked back, breaking the tie an inning later. After Adam Lind led off the fifth with a single, Chris Iannetta worked a 2-0 count and sat on a 95-mph fastball, smacking a line drive over the wall in left field for a two-run homer.
“Any time you can barrel up a ball, it feels good,” Iannetta said of his second homer this season.
Up 3-1, the Mariners continued to add.
Iannetta finished with three hits in three at-bats with three RBI and a walk. Last season, only once did a Mariners catcher have a game of three-plus hits and three-plus RBI. Mike Zunino had three hits and three RBI on two homers on May 12 against the Padres at Safeco Field.
“Really, really good night for Chris,” Servais said. “He’s in a good spot, just where he’s at mentally, he feels good about his swing.”
By the numbers
The Mariners have won seven of their past nine games at Yankee Stadium
Franklin Gutierrez’s career batting average at Yankee Stadium (18 for 45)
Seattle catchers only had three three-hit games last season — Zunino twice and Jesus Sucre once. It was the first time this season that Iannetta reached base four times in a game.
“That’s the name of the game for me,” Iannetta said. “I want to contribute. I want to win. Winning is first and foremost. But I don’t feel like a baseball player unless I contribute to that. Any time I can do that I’m happy.”
The Mariners put the leadoff batter on base in six of their nine innings, with four of those runners scoring. They scored runs in the final six innings.
“You’re going to have nights like that,” Servais said. “Obviously it’s not going to happen all the time. But the nice thing is the unselfish play, guys getting guys over, giving up themselves for their teammates, for the next guy. That’s what we’ve talked about and that’s what we need to be. It’s not one or two guys in the middle of your lineup every night, it’s got to be everybody contributing, and that’s what we had tonight.”
The offensive outburst was good enough for a Mariners starting pitcher to finally notch a win. Nathan Karns was credited with the win for an outing that was part grind, part success.
Karns’ first-inning issues continued. He came into the game with a 7.31 ERA in the first inning with opponents hitting .309 with an .881 on-base plus slugging percentage. With one out, Karns left a 1-0 fastball over the middle of the plate to Brett Gardner, who yanked it over the wall in right field for a solo homer and a 1-0 lead. He managed to work out of the first inning without further damage.
“I threw it right to the glove,” Karns said. “Gardner’s a professional hitter and he beat me. Fastball low and away and he got to it. I just tip my hat to that.”
Karns didn’t work a clean frame in his five-inning outing. His allowed the one run on five hits with four walks and seven strikeouts. In 101 pitches, he threw 55 strikes.
The bottom of the fourth inning symbolized Karns’ start. After the Mariners tied the game at 1-1, Karns issued a leadoff walk to Dustin Ackley, which isn’t easy to do, and gave up a single to Starlin Castro. After a wild pitch put Castro at second, it seemed like getting out of the inning unscathed was unavoidable. But Karns came back to strike out Didi Gregorious, Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury to end the inning.
“One pitch at a time,” he said. “For me, we had a game plan and even with the runners on second and third, I knew I just had to keep attacking. Iannetta was really big for me back there. I don’t know how many balls were in the dirt, but he kept the ball in front and kept the runners there.”
The Mariners bullpen had a solid showing with four relievers — Tony Zych, Vidal Nuno, Joel Peralta and Mike Montgomery — combining to work four scoreless innings.