NEW YORK -- Mark Teixeira belted his 23rd home run of the season over the right-field fence for a go-ahead shot that lifted the Yankees to a 2-1 victory over the Mariners on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
The Mariners got on the board first when Austin Jackson's single to center field scored Jesus Montero in the fifth, but the Yankees responded in the sixth when Carlos Beltran singled to left field to bring home Brett Gardner to knot the game. The score stayed tied until the eighth when Teixeira clinched the series for the Yanks, who won Friday but lost Saturday. With the homer, Teixeira eclipsed the 22 long balls he tallied in all of 2014.
"Any time you get in that part of the order, you feel really good that anyone can pop one, and Tex had a big day," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He was part of our two runs today, made some outstanding plays -- Nelson Cruz in the eighth inning. Just a big day from Tex."
"Just put a good swing on it. He threw the pitch earlier, the pitch before, right by me and I just knew I had to get ready a little bit earlier," Teixeira added of his homer. "The second one I was ready for."
"CC pitched extremely well," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. "His command was exceptional. He did a tremendous job. So did Felix. He was one pitch away from getting out of that [sixth] inning. It was a fantastic game. It's unfortunate the good guys lost this one."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED No long ball this time: The Mariners' seven runs in the first two games of the series all came on home runs, but they finally nicked Sabathia for a run in the fifth inning of the finale using base hits by Montero and Chris Taylor, a sacrifice by Mike Zunino and then Jackson's RBI single to center for a 1-0 lead. Jackson fought through an 0-2 count, fouling off a pair of pitches before driving a 1-2 slider up the middle. Taylor had to freeze momentarily on the line drive and didn't get a great jump from second base, so he was held up at third and wound up stranded there when Sabathia struck out Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano. That turned out to be Seattle's only tally as it went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
"I think CC did a really good job when we did get guys on, he made pitches in tough spots," said Jackson. "When guys are pitching like that, you just trying to scratch something across and we weren't really able to get that big scoring hit."
Solid start for CC: Yankees manager Joe Girardi indicated Sunday that perhaps Sabathia isn't the pitcher that he once was, but in his first start back from the All-Star break, the left-hander proved to be a consistent force on the mound. Sabathia gave up one earned run in six innings of work, after allowing six hits and striking out seven. Of his 87 pitches, 60 were thrown for strikes and he walked just one batter, despite taking a no-decision. More >
Fit for a King: Hernandez continued his excellence at new Yankee Stadium, where he's 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA in eight career starts. The Mariners' ace didn't give up a run until his final inning in the sixth when Teixeira executed a perfect hit-and-run single to put runners at the corners before Beltran delivered a two-out single to tie the game at 1-1. Hernandez was pulled after 97 pitches on the muggy, 92-degree afternoon, leaving him with a no-decision and still tied with the Astros' Dallas Keuchel for the most wins in the American League. Hernandez is 11-5 with a 2.77 ERA.
"He throws four pitches for strikes. He's got really good deception. Throws the pitches on the corners," said Teixeira of Hernandez. "He doesn't miss over the middle of the plate very much." More >
Count on the bullpen: After Sabathia gave up the lone run in the fifth, Yankees relievers combined to give up just one hit and no runs for the rest of the afternoon. Justin Wilson took care of the seventh inning, followed by Betances and Andrew Miller in the eighth and ninth. Betances did walk two, but he gave up no hits. Miller registered his 20th save of the season.
"We wanted to elevate that heater and it just got down a little. He's a good hitter and we missed the spot just by a little bit." -- Mariners catcher Zunino, on Teixeira's go-ahead homer off Rodney's 98-mph fastball
"This was a fun series here. This felt like a National League series. Every game was really exciting, really interesting and well played on both sides." -- Alex Rodriguez, on the weekend with the Mariners
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Rodney, who lost his closer job to rookie Carson Smith last month, has now allowed seven home runs in 37 innings this season. He gave up three in 66 1/3 last year when he led the Majors with 48 saves as an AL All-Star.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Veteran lefty J.A. Happ (4-5, 4.14 ERA) will be recalled prior to Monday's 4:08 p.m. PT series opener in Detroit after spending 10 days assigned to Class A Advanced Bakersfield, though he never pitched there while Seattle used his roster spot to add DH Jesus Montero before and after the All-Star break.
Yankees: The Yanks begin their final series of the month when the Orioles come to New York for three games starting with Tuesday's 7:05 ET opener. After an off-day Monday, Nathan Eovaldi (9-2, 4.50 ERA) will get the ball looking to crack into a double-digit win season. His nine wins are already a career high, and he's 1-0 against the O's in two starts.
Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB, read his Mariners Musings blog, and listen to his podcast. Grace Raynor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.