NEW YORK — The Yankees pounced on Felix Hernandez, building a big cushion for CC Sabathia in a showdown of acclaimed veterans as New York beat the Seattle Mariners 7-3 Monday night.
Luke Voit, Brett Gardner and Thairo Estrada homered off Hernández, and New York gave Sabathia a 6-0 lead after two innings and held on for its 12th win in 16 games. Hernández (1-3) settled in after that, completing five innings of seven-run ball.
Domingo Santana and Dee Gordon homered off Sabathia, but the oversized lefty limited Seattle to three runs over five innings. Sabathia (2-1) struck out five in his first start since becoming the 17th pitcher with 3,000 strikeouts last week.
Sabathia and Hernandez entered with a combined 5,498 strikeouts, the most between opposing starters since San Francisco’s Randy Johnson (4,867) faced Houston’s Roy Oswalt (1,418) in 2009.
Sabathia struck out Mitch Haniger on three pitches to start the game and cruised the first time through the order. He tired in the fifth, loading the bases with a four-pitch walk to Santana with two out before breaking Jay Bruce’s bat on a groundout to first on his 99th pitch.
Hernandez had been sharper this season than during a dismal 2018, relying more on his curveball and doing a better job throwing strikes. That all fell apart quickly in the Bronx.
Voit hit a two-run shot in the first and Gardner homered leading off the second. Gardner also tripled and scored in the third.
Estrada went the other way to right-center for his first major-league homer in the second, getting an extended silent treatment in the home dugout after rounding the bases.
Hernández and Estrada are both from Venezuela, their hometowns separated by a roughly 45-minute drive.
Seattle loaded the bases with one out in the sixth against Jonathan Holder but couldn’t push any runs across. Adam Ottavino relieved and got a flyout from Haniger, and Estrada made a stellar play at short to charge Tim Beckham’s slow grounder for the final out.
Santana hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Gordon lined a solo shot in the fifth. Gordon had three hits, but the Mariners have dropped seven of eight.
New York hasn’t lost a season series against Seattle since 2003, going 12-0-4.
STICKING AND PICKING
Third baseman Gio Urshela, still in the lineup despite Miguel Andújar’s return from the injured list Saturday, helped Sabathia with a couple slick defensive plays. He made a stellar over-the-shoulder catch on Omar Narváez’s flair in shallow left field in the third, then barehanded a chopper and threw smoothly to nab Beckham at first leading off the fourth.
Mariners: 3B Ryon Healy (groin) was in the starting lineup after sitting out two games this weekend. … 3B Kyle Seager (left hand) is progressing well, and manager Scott Servais expects him to begin a rehab assignment soon, though a start date hasn’t been determined.
Yankees: OF Clint Frazier (sprained ankle) returned from the injured list and started in right field. … RHP Dellin Betances played catch for the first time since getting a cortisone shot in his right shoulder last month. He felt good and will throw again Wednesday, though he’s not expected back until at least June. … OF Aaron Hicks (strained left lower back) was 0 for 4 and played eight innings in center field in his first rehab game with Class A Tampa. … INF Gleyber Torres was held out of the lineup for rest.
Yankees RHP Masahiro Tanaka (2-3, 3.92) has allowed at least one homer in five straight starts, tied for the second longest such streak of his career behind an eight-game run last season. He’ll face Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales (5-1, 3.28), who gave up six runs in 1 2/3 innings in an 11-0 loss to the Cubs last time out.
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