How good was the 6-foot-7 290-pounder? Good enough that Wells moved briskly about the bases even after spoiling Sabathia's bid for a perfect game with his solo smash.
"I kind of tried to get around the bases as quickly as possible, keep the momentum going," Wells said. "Plus, I saw CC staring at me out of the corner of my eye. I wanted to make sure I ran, because he's a big human being. I don't want to mess with him."
Mariners skipper Eric Wedge, who managed Sabathia in Cleveland from 2003-07, said the 32-year-old lefty was on top of his game.
"CC was outstanding, as good as I've seen him," said Wedge. "He had everything working. I think he beats anybody tonight with what he was throwing out there. We park that, put that away and come out here ready to win a ballgame tomorrow."
Sabathia has been a beast against the Mariners for a long time. He's 12-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 20 starts against Seattle in his career, has won his last eight starts against the Mariners while posting a 1.20 ERA (eight runs, 30 hits in 60 innings) and has allowed one earned run or fewer in nine of his last 11 starts against them, dating to 2006.
Veteran right-hander Kevin Millwood kept Seattle in the game until a towering two-run homer by Eric Chavez landed just over the glove of a leaping Eric Thames at the right-field wall in the sixth, providing Sabathia a 4-1 cushion.
A young fan appeared to deflect the ball just as Thames reached for it at the top of the wall, though no fan interference can be charged unless the ball is coming down in the field of play.
"It's tough on home run balls like that in parks like this because the fans are so close," said Thames, playing just his second game since being acquired from the Blue Jays. "They all reach out when it's close to the wall, and you've just got to fight through them and hang with it.
"It hit his glove, then it hit mine," said Thames, who felt he would have otherwise made the catch. "It's a game of inches."
Millwood, now 4-9 with a 4.01 ERA, chalked it up to part of the game.
"Without the fan, I think he makes a great play," said the veteran. "But good fan."
Curtis Granderson also got to Millwood with a two-run single in the third after Ichiro Suzuki started things off with a nubber to the left of the mound and Russell Martin followed with a double.
Ichiro finished 1-for-4 to extend his hit streak to 10 games. He's had one hit in every game he's played for the Yankees since being traded from Seattle on July 23. The one that cost Millwood was the single that traveled all of 20 feet. Ichiro is hitting .393 (33-of-84) in his career against the veteran right-hander.
"He's done it to me a million times," said Millwood. "I slipped a little on that, or I might have been able to get a little more on the throw. But again, that's not what happened."
The Yankees pushed across two more runs in the seventh after rookie Carter Capps made his Major League debut. Capps, 21, showed a fastball clocked from 98-101 mph but gave up a single to Martin and walked Granderson.
After Derek Jeter sacrificed both runners into scoring position, Wedge brought in veteran lefty Oliver Perez, who gave up a pair of singles that allowed both of the baserunners given up by Capps to score and hiked the Yankees' lead to 6-1.
Wells ended Sabathia's run of perfection with a solo blast with one out in the fourth, ripping a first-pitch changeup for his seventh home run of the year.
The Mariners didn't make Sabathia throw out of the stretch until Olivo doubled with one out in the eighth, then nicked him again with Ackley's blast in the ninth.
"His ball is hard to pick up," said Ackley. "He locates well; he mixes it up well. Right when you think you're getting a fastball, you're getting a slider. He's definitely tough. It was good to finally square one up off him, for sure."
The Mariners' seven-game win streak had been their longest since an eight-game run from June 23-July 1, 2007, but Wedge wasn't discouraged by one tough outing against a six-time All-Star.
"You've got to recognize our guys have been playing good baseball," said Wedge. "And they played good baseball tonight. That guy was just real good. There's going to be games like that. That's all it is.
"We didn't give at-bats away today. I'm very comfortable with that. The guy was just real good. They were competing. They were in it, and we'll come out here fresh [Saturday] and ready to rock 'n' roll."