NY Yankees 4, Seattle 3
When: 1:05 PM ET, Sunday, April 17, 2016
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
Mike Muchlinski, 1B -
Mike Winters, 2B -
Mark Wegner, 3B -
NEW YORK -- Alex Rodriguez had started off so slowly and earned a demotion in the starting lineup. A starting pitcher had yet to complete seven innings for the New York Yankees.
On Sunday, the Yankees had both things work out.
Moved down to sixth in the lineup, Rodriguez homered on the first pitch he saw and Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven effective innings as New York stopped a four-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
Hitless in 19 at-bats since hitting a long home run off Mike Pelfrey during the first inning in Detroit on April 9, Rodriguez was moved down three spots after going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and two groundouts Saturday.
"Alex is going to be fine," Yankees closer Andrew Miller said. "I think he's a professional hitter and he'll find a way. That's the least of our concerns I think."
With a runner on first base and nobody out in the second inning, Rodriguez lined a pitch clocked at 86 mph from Hisashi Iwakuma (0-2) into the left-field seats. It was his 689th career home run and fourth hit of the season and the hit gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
"I don't know what it did but hit a two-run home run, so that was nice," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Rodriguez struck out in the third and fouled out in the fifth against Iwakuma. He struck out in the eighth against Nick Vincent and is batting .118 (4-for-34) with 13 strikeouts but felt progress was made with his at-bats.
"I thought my rhythm was better all day," Rodriguez said. "I got one hit but I felt my swings overall were better, my at-bats were better. It's a work in progress but it's a long year."
After Rodriguez's home run, the Yankees took a 3-1 lead on an RBI double by Brett Gardner, their first hit with runners in scoring position since Thursday. Gardner then scored the tiebreaking run in the fifth on a wild pitch.
Rodriguez's home run came after Tanaka loaded the bases in the first but only allowed a run on a groundout by Kyle Seager. Tanaka (1-0) allowed three runs (two earned) and six hits but also encountered some bad luck.
"I thought his stuff was really good today," Girardi said. "It's the best game he's pitched all season and he really could have thrown a shutout."
Tanaka gave up an unearned run in the fourth when Seager reached on a two-base fielding error by first baseman Mark Teixeira and scored on a single by Steve Clevenger. An inning later, Tanaka allowed the tying run when Nori Aoki tripled to center field well past the diving attempt of Jacoby Ellsbury before scoring on a single by Seth Smith.
After Smith's hit, Tanaka retired Robinson Cano on a double play and easily finished the next two innings. Dellin Betances and Miller made things seem even easier in the final two innings, getting a combined six strikeouts on 26 pitches.
"Today was a good win," Rodriguez said. "Tanaka and the bullpen did an outstanding job."
Iwakuma made his 100th career start and allowed four runs and eight hits over seven innings in the 12th matchup of Japanese pitchers.
"I tried to go in on A-Rod, and I missed middle," Iwakuma said through an interpreter. "He made me pay for it."
The Mariners struck out 12 times and had a three-game winning streak stopped.
Seattle was attempting to win three straight games in New York on three straight days for the first time since 2002. The Mariners swept the Yankees here two years but the third game was a makeup game in June.
"It would have been nice to sweep here," Seattle manager Scott Servais said. "I think we're playing much better obviously than we played at home."
NOTES: Sunday's demotion of DH Alex Rodriguez to sixth coincided with the one-year anniversary of him being moved up to third in New York's lineup. ... Sunday was the fifth time the Yankees were involved in all-Japanese pitching matchup and the fourth time against Seattle. The first instance was May 7, 1999 against Seattle when Hideki Irabu beat Mac Suzuki in New York's 10-1 win at Yankee Stadium. ... Seattle manager Scott Servais said RHP Joaquin Benoit appeared to be throwing "free and easy" and with no restrictions Saturday when he pitched for the first time since April 8 due to right shoulder stiffness. ... Sunday was the 65th anniversary of former public address announcer Bob Sheppard's first game at Yankee Stadium. The first batter he introduced was Boston's Dom DiMaggio.
Top Game Performances
Team Stats Summary