Phil Hughes pitched into the eighth inning and Jayson Nix hit a two-run home run as the New York Yankees took a 6-2 win over the Seattle Mariners in the second of three games.
Hughes (3-4) gave up just one run on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts while Raul Ibanez hit a solo home run for the Yankees, who have won three straight and five of six.
"He did a great job of mixing his pitches up and keeping them off-balance," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi about Hughes. "It's huge for him to pitch that deep because we need as many innings as possible from our starters."
Sunday's finale will see the much anticipated debut of Andy Pettitte on the hill for New York. It will be his first appearance since Game 3 of the 2010 ALCS against Texas as he retired after the 2010 season and sat out the 2011 season before signing with the Yankees this past March. He is 11-11 with a 4.33 earned run average over 23 starts against Seattle in his career.
Mike Carp hit a solo home run and an RBI double for the Mariners, who have dropped three of their last four. Hector Noesi (2-4) gave up five runs on six hits over seven innings to take the loss.
"I was impressed with him and I think he learned out there tonight against a really good lineup," said Seattle manager Eric Wedge about Noesi. "Every time he goes out there he gets a little better and he's going to develop into a good pitcher."
The Yankees took control of the game in the second inning. With one out, Mark Teixeira doubled to right. Nick Swisher followed with a fly out, but Raul Ibanez hit a double to center to score Teixeira. Russell Martin then hit an RBI double and Nix followed with his first homer of the season for a 4-0 lead.
Ibanez hit a solo home run to dead center in the fourth on a full count for a 5-0 lead.
Hughes was cruising through his start as he allowed just one runner to reach second base through the first six innings.
Carp, though, smacked a solo shot to right-center in the seventh to cut Seattle's deficit to four.
Consecutive two-out singles from Dustin Ackley and John Jaso chased Hughes from the game, but Boone Logan held the line as he struck out Ichiro Suzuki to end the inning.
The ninth saw Logan get into a bit of trouble as he gave up a one-out single to Kyle Seager and a run-scoring double to Carp, whose hit was initially ruled a home run, but the ball hit off the top of the wall and the replay overturned the call. However, he struck out Justin Smoak and Michael Saunders to pick up his first save since 2006 with Chicago.
When the Yankees give Hughes a lead of three runs or more, they are 29-0 and he has won 26 of those outings...New York second baseman Robinson Cano went 1- for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 10 games...New York took five of nine from Seattle last season...Hughes improved to 3-2 in his career against the Mariners...Seattle has lost eight straight on the road...Pettitte went 0-2 with a 3.71 ERA over four minor league starts.