NEW YORK — Dustin Ackley and the rest of the Seattle Mariners had the same thought as they piled up the hits Wednesday: Don’t stop.
By the time they were done, everyone was happy to talk about the No. 17.
The Mariners snapped their 17-game losing streak with a 9-2 victory over the New York Yankees, boosted by a season-high 17-hit attack that featured strong performances by Ichiro Suzuki and Ackley.
“It seemed like everything was clicking [Wednesday],” Ackley said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Feliz Hernandez pitched seven innings for his third straight win in the Bronx. Suzuki had four hits and scored two runs. Ackley tripled among his three hits and drove in three runs as the Mariners did something they failed to accomplish during the skid: They turned an opponent’s mistake into a big inning.
Seattle took 21 days worth of frustration out on three relievers, scoring five runs in the seventh inning – highlighted by Mike Carp‘s bases-loaded triple — after Robinson Cano flubbed a flip to Derek Jeter at second base for an error.
The Mariners added two more in the ninth when Adam Kennedy hit an RBI double that center fielder Curtis Granderson lost in the sun, then scored on Carp’s single to give Seattle its most runs since it had nine in a win against Tampa Bay on June 5.
“These guys haven’t felt good in a long time,” manager Eric Wedge said. “We’ve got a long flight, an off day [Thursday] and this is a real big win for us. When you’ve got a monkey on your back that size, it’s damn hard to get it off.”
After a win July 5, the Mariners were 43-43 and 2 1/2 games back in the AL West, a pleasant early season surprise. But it all fell apart in a hurry.
The longest skid in the major leagues since Kansas City lost 19 in 2005 began with a loss at Oakland on July 6 and included four-game sweeps against division rivals, the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers. The Mariners led in seven of the games, twice in the seventh inning, and loss No. 10 — to the Blue Jays — came in 14 innings.
Their last nine games have been against the AL East. They lost three to Toronto, three to Boston then dropped the first two to New York, managing just one hit Tuesday night.
Wedge shaved his mustache after losing Saturday, pushed back the report time and canceled batting practice Tuesday but had nothing up his sleeve Wednesday: “No, the only trick is these guys have to go out and do better,” he said before the game.
And that’s what they did.
The Mariners came in hitting .218 during the streak but smacked around a struggling Phil Hughes (1-3) for nine hits and two runs over six innings. Still, Seattle had trouble getting runners home before Carp’s triple in the seventh.
“It was better. Better is not saying all that much compared to [my] last outing, but it was better,” said Hughes, who was rocked for seven runs in his previous outing Friday.
Ackley was stranded on third after he hit a two-out RBI triple in the third. Ackley singled in a run in the fifth, but that was it after the Mariners loaded the bases with none out. Kennedy led off the sixth with a double and was left there.
But Seattle let loose in the seventh after Cano’s error on Ackley’s run-scoring fielder’s choice.
“When I look back on what our club has done this year, and when I look back 20 years from now, I probably am not going to remember it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said about being the team that snapped the skid. “They were going to win a game at some point. We didn’t play well, and that’s why we got beat.”
The Mariners had lost Hernandez’s previous five starts, but they had to gain some confidence from sending the AL Cy Young Award winner to the mound.
Hernandez (9-9) had never lost in the new Yankee Stadium, never even given up a run in two starts in the billion-dollar ballpark. In fact, the Mariners beat New York the past five times he started.
He was nearly as dominant in the Bronx again. He gave up two hits through four innings before New York loaded the bases in the fifth on a walk and two hits, one nearly an out when shortstop Brendan Ryan made a diving stop and whirling throw to first but Justin Smoak‘s foot was pulled off the bag on the stretch.
Jeter hit a sacrifice fly for the Yankees’ first run against King Felix in 21 innings here to make it 2-1.
“That was the key to the game, one run. I made good pitches,” Hernandez said. “We made good plays, too.”
Hernandez gave up five hits, walked four and struck out five to win for the first time since June 24. He uncharacteristically remained in the dugout for the final two innings.
“I wanted this game so bad,” he said.
Cano had a run-scoring groundout in the eighth.
Injured Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez (right knee surgery) turned 36. A-Rod will go from Miami to the Yankees’ complex in Tampa, Fla., next week to continue his rehab … The Yankees likely will activate RHP Rafael Soriano from the 60-day DL on Friday when they open a series against Baltimore … Suzuki stole two bases … Ryan extended his hitting streak to 11 games … Girardi said the Yankees will start A.J Burnett on Friday against Baltimore. Bartolo Colon will follow for one of the games Saturday – he would not say who will start the other game in the day-night doubleheader — and Freddy Garcia will pitch Sunday.