Mariners go after fourth straight win in opener vs. Yanks

( - The Seattle Mariners take aim at a fourth straight victory on Tuesday night when they begin a three-game series with the New York Yankees.

The Mariners took the final three contests of a four-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays, hurling combined shutouts in the last two wins. Erasmo Ramirez worked the first 4 2/3 frames of Monday's 3-0 win, but was pulled after giving up four hits and five walks.

Joe Beimel, Dominic Leone, Danny Farquhar and Fernando Rodney finished off the contest by fanning four, walking one and yielding one more hit.

"Our starters have given us everything we've asked of them and probably a little bit more," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Our bullpen is even better. It was a nice way to close out the road trip for us."

The victory gave the Mariners a 6-1 record on their road trip and an eighth victory in nine games.

Seattle has shut out its opponent three times in hits last five games, with tonight's starter Hisashi Iwakuma helping secure one of those victories.

The 33-year-old righty held the Atlanta Braves scoreless over seven innings of a 2-0 victory last Wednesday. He scattered six hits and did not walk a batter while fanning seven to match a season high.

Iwakuma's outing came after he gave up nine runs over 13 innings in back-to- back losses, but he improved his record to 4-2 on the season with a 2.66 earned run average in seven starts.

Iwakuma is 1-1 with a 3.18 ERA in three previous meetings with the Yankees, who will start Vidal Nuno.

Nuno was slated to pitch on Monday against the Kansas City Royals, but that contest, the finale of a four-game set, was postponed due to rain. It will be made up on Aug. 25.

The left-handed Nuno is winless since May 7 and did not get a decision versus Oakland on Wednesday after giving up two runs on six hits and a walk in just 4 2/3 innings of work.

The 26-year-old is 1-2 with a 5.33 ERRA in 12 games (9 starts) this season and will face Seattle for the first time.

Monday's postponed game makes this now a nine-game road trip for the Yankees, who have lost six of their past eight.

The Mariners have won all three of their games versus the Yankees this season, winning both contests of a rain-shortened set from April 29-May 1 before winning the makeup game last Monday.

New York did win three of four in Seattle a season ago.