Seattle, WA – Jayson Nix ripped a pinch-hit, three-run double in the top of the eighth inning to lift the Yankees to a 5-2 victory over the Mariners in the finale of a three-game set Wednesday at Safeco Field.
Trailing 2-1 to start the eighth, the Yankees loaded the bases as Josh Kinney drilled Derek Jeter with a pitch to start the frame before Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira stroked back-to-back singles off Lucas Luetge.
Luetge (1-1) then got Curtis Granderson to pop out into foul territory and Shawn Kelley was called on from the bullpen to face Nix, whose pinch-hit, bases-clearing double into the left-center field gap put the Yankees in front.
"All I wanted to do was hit a sac fly," admitted Nix. "I wasn't trying to do too much, I just wanted to get one run in, we're down my one run. I think that helped because I wasn't trying to do too much on the ball."
Russell Martin added a two-out RBI single later in the frame to account for the final margin.
David Robertson fired a perfect bottom of the eighth and Rafael Soriano nailed down his 26th save of the season with a scoreless ninth as the Yankees salvaged a 2-5 record on their seven-game, West Coast road trip.
David Phelps (2-3) was credited with the victory after tossing 1 1/3 perfect innings of relief, while Jeter recorded his eighth home run of the season with a solo shot in the first inning.
Michael Saunders and Jesus Montero accounted for two of Seattle's three hits as the Mariners fell to 2-4 against the Yankees this season.
"You're asking a lot out of your pitching staff to be able to hold those guys down for that many innings," remarked Seattle manager Eric Wedge. "We almost squeezed by, but ultimately you can't play it that tight against a veteran offensive club like that. Obviously, they really stepped up there in that eighth inning."
The Yankee lineup underwent a makeover due to the acquisition of outfielder Ichiro Suzuki on Monday and the loss of third baseman Alex Rodriguez on Tuesday after the three-time American League MVP broke his left hand when he was hit by a pitch from Felix Hernandez.
Jeter, who had batted first in all 94 of his starts this season, moved to the two hole as the former Mariner Suzuki slid into the captain's spot in the leadoff position.
The Yankee shortstop wasted little time getting acclimated to the two hole as he crushed a slider over the wall in left in his first at-bat to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Seattle battled back to take the lead in the bottom half as Saunders and Montero stroked back-to-back singles before John Jaso walked to load the bases with one out.
Kyle Seager then battled through a 10-pitch at-bat by earning a walk to tie the game before Mike Carp grounded into a fielder's choice to plate Montero and provide Seattle with a 2-1 advantage.
The Mariners were unable to get anything going from there, however, as they failed to register another hit until Casper Wells' two-out single in the ninth after the Yankees had already surged ahead with a four-run eighth.
New York starter Ivan Nova fired five-plus innings of two-run ball and walked a career-high six batters while striking out five...Rodriguez was placed on the 15-day disabled list before the game and New York recalled infielder Ramiro Pena from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre ...New York will head home to host the Boston Red Sox for three games beginning on Friday...Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma allowed one run on six hits and three walks over five innings...The Yankees have homered in their last 12 games at Safeco, which ties the record for longest streak by any visiting team there set by Cleveland from April 24, 2003 until June 29, 2005.