The New York Yankees eye a fourth straight win on Thursday when they begin a 10-game road trip with the first of four games against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.
After starting its eight-game homestand just 1-4, New York finished the stay by sweeping the Cleveland Indians in a three-game set, culminating with a 6-4 win on Wednesday.
Travis Hafner and Brett Gardner homered in the win, while CC Sabathia went the distance to earn his second straight win for the Yanks, who will also visit Oakland and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on the trek.
"It means a lot," Sabathia said about giving the bullpen a day off. "Our bullpen has been taxed a little bit. That's one of the strengths of our team so to get them a rest feels good."
Heading to the hill for the Yankees on Thursday will be inconsistent righty Phil Hughes, who is winless in his last four starts. Hughes absorbed the loss to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, as he was hit for five runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. He also struck out seven, but still fell to 2-4 to go along with a 5.37 ERA.
Hughes seemed to be cruising along until he served up a third-inning grand slam to Mike Napoli. The long ball continues to plague Hughes, who has surrendered 12 home runs on the season.
"Tonight really was just one pitch I'd like to have back," Hughes said. "I feel like if I can find a way to get Napoli out there, that's really a momentum shifter."
Hughes has faced the Mariners 10 times (7 starts) and is 4-3 with a 4.29 ERA.
Seattle, meanwhile, lost a bizarre, 7-5, decision to the Chicago White Sox in 16 innings on Wednesday.
The two teams were scoreless through 13 innings before Chicago scored five runs in the top of the 14th. Kyle Seager's grand slam, though, capped a five- run bottom half of the frame for the Mariners, who couldn't come back after the White Sox pushed two across in the 16th.
It marked the first time in major league history that each team scored five or more runs in a game when it was scoreless through nine. Seager's blast was only the third extra-inning grand slam since 1945 that did not give a team the lead, and the first ever to tie a game.
"We talk about you'll never be able to figure this game out. That's a great example," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Getting the call for Seattle will be veteran Aaron Harang, who is 2-5 with a 5.82 ERA. One start removed from a four-hit shutout, Harang did not get a decision on Saturday in Minnesota, but pitched well, as he allowed just an earned run in six innings of his team's 5-4 loss.
"Early on, I felt kind of inconsistent," said Harang, who has never faced the Yankees. "I didn't have my control right away. But I was able to battle through and get us through those first few innings and finally was able to calm down and execute pitches later in the game, and get them to hit some grounders and keep the guys active in the field."
Seattle took two of three from the Yankees earlier in the season.