After a lull earlier in the week, the New York Yankees have righted the ship in the past two games and will try to keep that momentum going Saturday when they face the Seattle Mariners.
CC Sabathia has always been stellar against the Mariners and he was yet again last night. The left-hander pitched a complete game and allowed three runs while striking out 10 to help the Yankees in a 6-3 win to kick off a three- game set. He is now 12-4 in his career against Seattle and has won each of his last eight starts in this series.
"Every time you go out, you feel like you're going to go out and try to dominate somebody and today was just the day," Sabathia said. "Everything started working when I got out there on the mound."
Robinson Cano went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI and Eric Chavez launched his 10th home run of the season for a pair of RBI to lead the AL East-leading Yankees. Curtis Granderson also had two runs batted in from the leadoff spot.
In his first game at home against his former club, Ichiro Suzuki went 1-for-4 and has now hit safely in all 10 games he has played with New York.
The Yankees have won back-to-back games after a four-game losing streak.
The loss for Seattle ended a season-long seven-game winning streak. The Mariners' bats were silent just about all night with only three hits as a team. Casper Wells and Dustin Ackley each struck for home runs to account for the offensive output.
Kevin Millwood took the loss for Seattle. The veteran right-hander lasted six innings, allowing four runs on nine hits while striking out three.
Hiroki Kuroda will be trying to win his fifth straight decision when he takes the mound for the Yankees on Saturday afternoon.
Kuroda has won each of his last four decisions since his previous loss in mid- July. The Yankees are 6-1 during that stretch although in his last time out they fell to the rival Boston Red Sox despite a strong outing from Kuroda.
After Kuroda pitched eight innings of two-run ball, the bullpen gave up the lead and the game as the Red Sox won, 3-2. Despite the losing effort, Kuroda continued his stellar streak of pitching in which he has five quality starts in the last seven appearances.
That includes a dominating performance when he faced the Mariners earlier last week. Kuroda lasted seven innings while giving up a single run on three hits and striking out nine batters -- his second highest strikeout total in a game this season.
That was the second start Kuroda has made against the Mariners this season. He also captured a win back in May. In his career, he is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA against Seattle.
Kuroda is one of four Yankees pitchers with at least 10 wins (10-7) and also leads the team in innings pitched (137 1/3) and WHIP (1.17).
It might be odd to think of Kuroda as an ace, at least according to the numbers, but Seattle's ace is unquestionably Felix Hernandez, who gets the ball on Saturday.
The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner is second on the team in wins this season (9-5), but is the club's leading starter in most other categories, including ERA (2.79), innings pitched (155) and strikeouts (153). Jason Vargas leads the M's with 12 wins.
In fact, King Felix has pitched the second-most innings in the majors this season behind only Detroit's Justin Verlander.
Since a rough six-inning outing in mid-June, Hernandez has been electric in allowing two runs or fewer over at least seven innings in eight of the nine starts since. Hernandez also has reached double-digit strikeout totals in three of those starts and has a pair of shutouts as well.
In his last start, Hernandez allowed two runs on five hits while striking out six batters over seven innings of work against Kansas City. Although the Mariners got the win, Hernandez did not factor in the decision.
That start was almost identical to his previous appearance against New York, as Hernandez allowed two runs over 7 1/3 innings of work while striking out four.
On the season, Hernandez has made two starts against the Yankees. He is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in those starts. In 13 career starts against New York, the right-hander is 7-5 with an ERA of 3.38.
Surprisingly, he has found a great deal of success at the new Yankee Stadium, a place where most pitchers struggle. Hernandez is 3-1 with a 1.47 ERA in four starts since the park opened in 2009.
The Yankees are 5-2 against Seattle this season.