In the midst of a lengthy 10-game homestand, the Seattle Mariners try to capitalize on an inspirational outing by their starter on Friday night as they play the third game of a four-game series Saturday against the New York Yankees at Safeco Field.
On Friday, the Mariners sent Jeremy Bonderman to the hill and the hurler responded with his first victory since 2010, guiding the hosts to a much- needed 4-1 win. Bonderman, who has endured numerous health issues over the last several campaigns, lasted six full innings, allowing just the one run on three hits and a walk, fanning a pair as the team snapped a two-game slide.
"It feels amazing," Bonderman said. "It's been a long time, almost three years. So getting back on the field and feeling like you can compete and hold your own feels really good."
The bullpen held it together for Seattle as well, with Yoervis Medina and Charlie Furbush handing the game to Tom Wilhelmsen in the ninth and the closer allowed one hit as he posted his 15th save of the campaign.
Despite hitting just .224 on the season, Jason Bay came up with two hits and a couple of RBI, while Brendan Ryan (.218) also plated a pair for a club that is second-to-last in the AL in batting with a collective .239.
Brett Gardner had one of the four hits logged by the Yankees and scored in the top of the first inning, but from there the visitors were held in-check.
Hiroki Kuroda scattered eight hits and walked three, leading to four runs, while striking out six through 6 1/3 innings of action for a New York club which is now two games behind Boston for first place in the AL East after having a four-game win streak come to an end.
Kuroda was hit hard in the fourth inning when the Mariners batted around and caught a couple of breaks, both by luck and poor defense.
"That inning, nothing worked," Yankees catcher Chris Stewart observed. "We tried everything. It didn't seem like he could figure anything out at that point. It's tough; he should have only given up two runs."
Now in his 18th major league season, Andy Pettitte prepares to pitch for the Yankees Saturday afternoon. The left-hander, who three weeks ago lost to Seattle at home in a 3-2 decision, has a career mark of 11-13 with a 4.37 ERA in 25 lifetime matchups with the Mariners.
More recently Pettitte faced off against the Cleveland Indians on Monday at home, making it through just 4 2/3 innings after being tagged for four runs on seven hits and three walks. While the Louisiana native did not factor into the decision, New York still pulled out the 7-4 victory.
As for the Mariners, they have Joe Saunders shooting for back-to-back wins Saturday. A first-round pick by the Angels back in 2002, the left-hander is coming off his fourth victory of the campaign on Monday as he topped the Chicago White Sox in a 4-2 final.
In that meeting Saunders allowed just a single run on five hits and a walk, striking out five over 6 1/3 innings of action.
Just one strikeout shy of 700 for his career, Saunders has a record of 3-1 with a 5.82 ERA in six career appearances versus the Bronx Bombers.
Seattle has won three of the last four encounters with the Yankees, although the Mariners have lost the season series in each of the three previous years.