NEW YORK -- Former Yankee Robinson Cano homered twice, accounting for all four of the Mariners' runs on Saturday, as he lifted Seattle to a 4-3 win over the Yankees in the middle game of the weekend series at Yankee Stadium.
Cano got the Mariners on the board just four minutes into the game, when he blasted his seventh home run of the season over the center-field wall with Kyle Seager aboard to put the Yankees in a two-run hole.
"When we talk about him in meetings, we consider him dangerous -- and that's the way we treat him," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi of Cano. "Today, we made some mistakes."
Brian McCann tied the game in the fourth with a two-run shot with Mark Teixeira on base. But Cano's second two-run shot of the day in the sixth inning put the Yankees away for good. The Yankees threatened in the ninth, adding a run on Garrett Jones' RBI groundout. But their rally fell short, leaving the series knotted heading into Sunday's rubber game.
Former Mariner Michael Pineda picked up the loss against his old team, after giving up six hits and four runs, all earned, while striking out just two over six innings. Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma picked up his second win of the season after throwing 5 2/3 innings of five-hit, two-run ball and recording five strikeouts.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
That'll show 'em: As Cano swung at the first pitch he saw on Saturday, he did so through yet another round of boos. Those boos stopped when he hit the pitch over the center-field wall for a two-run home run. It was Cano's first home run at Yankee Stadium since joining the Mariners before last season. He added another in the sixth inning, marking his first multi-home run game as a Mariner. More >
Iwakuma's solid outing: Iwakuma picked up his second victory since returning from the disabled list by limiting the Yankees to quick innings. Manager Lloyd McClendon and the Mariners are expecting big things from the 2013 All-Star in the second half. More >
In the same boat: With Pineda on the mound and Cano at the plate, both were competing against their former teams on Saturday in the Bronx. Cano pounced on what Pineda gave him, snapping an 0-for-6 skid against the righty. Pineda had only made one career start against his former club prior to Saturday, a win on June 1. The two home run pitches to Cano would prove costly for the Yankees' righty. More >
Almost a rally: The Yankees had a chance to cut into Seattle's lead in the sixth inning, when Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner opened up the frame with back-to-back singles. Then, Alex Rodriguez struck out and Teixeira hit into a forceout, which moved Ellsbury to third with a chance to score with McCann at the plate. McCann sent a deep fly into center, but it was caught by Austin Jackson for the third out. In the ninth, Teixeira doubled and Chase Headley reached first via a wild pitch on strike three to put runners at the corners with just one out. Jones' RBI groundout pulled the Yanks within one, before Didi Gregorius' groundout ended the game.
"Just one of those days. We didn't get the big hit today," Girardi said. "I thought Mac just missed the ball off of [Joe] Beimel. Iwakuma's tough. He moves the ball around, he really locates well, he doesn't walk people. We just weren't able to break through."
"In my mind, it was a must victory for us. We did everything we could to possibly get it. ... I really felt that this was probably the biggest game of the year for us, to date." -- McClendon, on the victory
"I think unless he's not healthy, then this is still a great player. I would expect Robbie to have a really good second half, if he's healthy." -- Teixeira, on Cano
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Pitchers, beware of Cano early in at-bats. Cano's two home runs on Saturday each came within the first two pitches of his at-bat, the 110th and 111th home runs he's hit off the first or second pitch. That's almost half of his 226 career home runs.
Nelson Cruz was originally called out on a grounder in the first inning that Gregorius fielded and threw wide to Teixeira, which the first baseman had to stretch for. Seattle challenged the call, which was overturned after the replay showed Teixeira's foot was pulled off the bag.
Mariners: The Mariners will turn to ace Felix Hernandez for the rubber game of this three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Sunday at 10:05 a.m. PT. He's 11-5 with a 2.84 ERA this season, though he's historically a touch less effective after the All-Star break.
Yankees:CC Sabathia takes the mound for the Yankees on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET for the series finale. Sabathia (4-8, 5.47 ERA) is making his 18th start of the season. The left-hander is 12-5 in 23 career starts against the Mariners, and is 8-2 in 12 starts against the Mariners as a Yankee.