Mariners can't overcome early deficit

Mariners can't overcome early deficit

SEATTLE -- It would have taken some kind of ninth-inning rally Saturday night for the Mariners to pull out their third consecutive walk-off victory.

Not a chance.

Three home runs, including a three-run blast into the right-field seats by Mark Teixeira in a four-run fifth inning, snuffed any comeback hopes the Mariners might have had against left-hander CC Sabathia, as Seattle dropped a 10-1 decision before 43,173 at Safeco Field.

The near-capacity crowd was still buzzing about Friday night's game, which Seattle won in dramatic fashion -- Ichiro Suzuki's two-out, two-run home run off Yankees closer Mariano Rivera that gave the Mariners a one-run victory.

That came on the heels of Ichiro's walk-off single in the 14th inning in Thursday's game against the White Sox.

The last time the Mariners had three straight walk-off wins was Sept. 16-18, 2002, against the Rangers, all in extra innings.

The late-inning magic never had a chance to materialize in the second game of this series.

Rookie right-hander Doug Fister, who notched his first Major League win against the Yankees on Aug. 16 at Safeco Field, surrendered a run in the first inning, another in the fourth on Hideki Matsui's 26th home run of the season, and was KO'd in the fifth-inning uprising capped by Teixeira's 36th circuit blast of the season.

"With CC Sabathia on the mound, you really don't want to spot that guy with that many runs," manager Don Wakamatsu said. "He is awfully good. That's why he's where he is -- with an arm like that throwing a 95-mph fastball, and he had probably the best changeup I have seen him have in a long time. We stranded 10 runners, but you have tip your hat to him. He's an awfully, awfully good pitcher."

Besides that, the Yankees have a lot of firepower to back him up.

Teixeira hit a home run from each side the plate, adding a solo home run batting right-handed against left-hander Luke French in the eighth.

"With young pitching, you are going to get some inconsistencies," Wakamatsu said. "We have asked a lot of Doug Fister this year, and he beat [the Angels] and he beat the New York Yankees in his debut.

"He did pretty well for the first four innings, pitching out of jams and keeping us in the game, but he had that crooked number [4] in the fifth inning, and it got out of control at that point.

Fister, whose record fell to 2-3, said it was a matter of not keeping the ball down and leaving too many fastballs over the plate.

"That's a good lineup and they hit a mistake every time," he said.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi substituted liberally in the final two innings, removing most of his starters, but the American League East leaders still finished with 18 hits.

One night after Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez kept his AL Cy Young Award hopes on the front burner with a complete-game victory, Sabathia followed suit with a strong performance -- and one scary moment.

Franklin Gutierrez drilled a line drive up the middle in the fifth inning, and the ball hit the chunky lefty in the chest. The concerned Yankees converged to check out their ace, and he remained in the game.

"He told me he was fine, and CC's going to be honest with how he's feeling," Girardi said. "And you can watch how he's throwing the ball to tell if he's favoring anything."

Jose Lopez, the next batter, reached on Alex Rodriguez's throwing error, a peg so wild to first base that Gutierrez scored from first.

Undaunted, Sabathia retired Mike Sweeney on a popup that Teixeira caught with his glove a row or two into the stands to end the inning, and the lefty set Seattle down in order in the sixth and seventh innings to improve his record to 18-7 and reduce his ERA to 3.31.

The Mariners started each of the first three innings exactly the way they wanted -- getting the leadoff batter on base against Sabathia.

Ichiro worked the lefty for a full-count walk to lead off the first inning, but never budged as the next three batters were retired.

Adrian Beltre went one better in the second, drilling a leadoff double down the left-field line. He remained at second on a routine fly ball to center field and then stole third while Bill Hall was striking out.

Second baseman Matt Tuiasosopo coaxed a walk, but Sabathia struck out Josh Wilson to end the inning.

Ichiro reached on a leadoff single in the third inning, his 210th hit of the season, but he was forced at second base for the second out. Mike Sweeney beat out a slow roller to third base, putting runners on first and second, but Beltre went down swinging to end that threat.

The loss left Seattle (77-72) with a "magic" number of three for being mathematically eliminated from the AL West and AL Wild Card races.

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.