By BEN WALKER
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ A decade ago, Raul Ibanez and Ichiro Suzuki
watched Seattle teammate Freddy Garcia establish him as a big
winner with a big fastball.
On Sunday, with the trio now dressed in Yankees pinstripes, they
saw Garcia win yet again with a much different repertoire.
Garcia posted his 150th career victory while Ibanez homered and
drove in three runs as New York wrapped up a long and losing
homestand by beating the Mariners 6-2.
“For me, it’s another win,” Garcia said. “Hopefully, more are
Garcia (5-5) hung around for five innings on a sticky afternoon
and preserved a one-run lead with his final pitch, retiring Kyle
Seager with two runners on base.
A two-time All-Star with the Mariners, the 35-year-old Garcia
has since bounced all over the majors. In and out of the rotation
this season, he ended a string of three straight losing starts and
improved to 150-100.
Garcia wins these days with guile instead of gas. He got the
young Mariners hitters to swing at off-speed pitches all around the
“He’s had to reinvent himself,” Ibanez said. “It’s really his
will and determination that’s made him great.”
Suzuki has seen the transformation, too.
“Back in 2001, he was throwing 95, 96 (mph),” Suzuki said
through a translator. “The pitchers who can make that adjustment
are going to be successful. Some can’t.”
The AL East-leading Yankees won for only the sixth time in 16
games. They went 4-5 against Boston, Baltimore and Seattle on their
longest stay in the Bronx so far this season. On Monday night,
they’ll face Tigers ace Justin Verlander in Detroit.
Garcia is the top winner in major league history among pitchers
born in Venezuela. Johan Santana is next with 139 and Seattle star
Felix Hernandez is farther down with 95.
“I still have the record,” Garcia kidded.
Boone Logan, David Robertson and Rafael Soriano combined for
four innings of hitless relief.
“We kind of labored through that game there,” Mariners manager
Eric Wedge said. “We still need to get better with our pitch
Ibanez hit his 15th homer in the fifth, a solo drive off Hisashi
Iwakuma (2-3) that put the Yankees ahead 4-2. Ibanez delivered
again in the sixth with a two-out, two-run single off Oliver Perez
with the bases loaded.
Suzuki continued to be a one-hit wonder.
The Yankees newcomer extended his hitting streak to 12 games,
all since being traded from Seattle to New York, when his routine
fly got lost in the sun and fell for a seventh-inning double.
Suzuki has gotten exactly one hit in each of those 12 games _
Willy Aybar was the last big leaguer with such an odd streak,
getting a single hit in 13 straight for the Dodgers in 2006, STATS
Suzuki said he was getting more comfortable with his
surroundings. That includes dealing with a tough glare in the
outfield, and he looked into the sun for a stumbling catch.
“If it was getting harder and harder every day, I’m not worthy
of wearing the Yankee uniform,” he said.
Jesus Montero hit a pair of RBI singles for the short-handed
Mariners, who had won eight of nine. Shortstop Brendan Ryan was out
a day after being hit by a pitch on the left elbow. Mike Carp
singled home the game’s only run Saturday, then went to California
after the game for the birth of his daughter.
The Mariners are the top-fielding team in the majors, though it
hardly looked that way in the early innings.
In the first, center fielder Michael Saunders made an
ill-advised throw, third baseman Chone Figgins had a ball pop out
of his glove and Seager stayed back on the grass on Mark Teixeira’s
grounder to second and played it into an RBI single.
The next inning, first baseman Dustin Ackley let Curtis
Granderson’s hard grounder skip through his legs for a two-out
error that scored a run.
Derek Jeter added an RBI single in the fourth.
NOTES: Injured RHP Mariano Rivera, LHP Andy Pettitte, 3B Alex
Rodriguez and OF Brett Gardner joined the rest of the Yankees to
greet season ticket-holders lined up on the warning track before
the game for Photo Day. Pettitte said he was going for another
X-ray on his broken left leg, and Girardi said after the game that
the longtime ace was “definitely better.” The Yankees still hope
he can pitch again in September. Girardi said it was “99.9
percent” certain Rivera (torn right knee) wouldn’t return this
year and that there was a chance the speedy Gardner (right elbow)
could be activated next month, if only to pinch run. … Carp is
expected to rejoin the team Monday night in Baltimore. Wedge said
Ryan’s injury is day-to-day.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)