Here was the gospel according to Earl Weaver, showing Monday night that his words remain true today: Pitching, defense and the three-run homer is a heck of winning formula.
The Mariners hit two three-run homers in their 7-5 victory over the New York Yankees at Safeco Field. Their vaunted bullpen also bounced back after Sunday’s hiccup loss to Milwaukee.
And there was defense. The Mariners erased two two-run deficits by getting a three-run homer in the fourth inning from Kyle Seager and another in the sixth from Mike Zunino.
Their bullpen produced 3 1/3 scoreless innings after Cody Martin surrendered five runs on four homers – two apiece from Gary Sanchez and Starlin Castro.
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Defense? Right fielder Shawn O’Malley made a diving catch into the stands for the second out in the seventh inning. And second baseman Robinson Cano made a long run later in the inning to track down a Jacoby Ellsbury pop.
Nick Vincent, Vidal Nuno, Steve Cishek and Edwin Diaz provided the bullpen relay. Vincent (3-3) got the victory. Cishek retired Sanchez and Castro while protecting a one-run lead in the eighth.
After a Nelson Cruz homer provided a two-run cushion, Diaz worked around a shaky start to the ninth in closing the victory for his 10th save in 10 chances.
The Mariners climbed back to a season-best 10 games over .500 (67-57) and remained one game behind Baltimore in the race for the American League’s final wild-card berth.
The Mariners trailed 5-3 when they knocked out ex-Mariner Michael Pineda in the sixth by putting two runners on base with one out.
New York manager Joe Girardi played match-ups and won the first one when lefty Tommy Layne retired Adam Lind on a pop to second. Girardi then summoned righty Anthony Swarzak to face Zunino. On a full count, Swarzak (1-2) threw a slider that Zunino reached out and drove 366 feet to right for a three-run homer.
The Mariners led 6-5.
Sanchez marked his first at-bat since being selected earlier Monday as the American League Player of the Week by lining a two-out homer to left in the first.
Castro’s leadoff homer in the second extended New York’s lead to 2-0.
A double-play grounder enabled Martin to work around a one-out walk in the third, but the Yankees started the fourth with singles by Sanchez and Didi Gregorius. A strikeout and a double play kept it 2-0.
That allowed the Mariners to grab the lead on Seager’s three-run homer in the bottom of the inning – a 403-foot drive to center field on a 3-0 count. It was Seager’s 24th homer of the year.
That lead lasted until Sanchez’s next at-bat, which came with one on and one out in the sixth. He crushed an 88-mph fastball from Martin for a two-run homer to center.
Castro’s second homer, a two-out drive later in the inning, reestablished New York’s two-run lead at 5-3. When Martin then walked Brian McCann, manager Scott Servais went to the bullpen for Vincent.
Play of the game – O’Malley, just inserted for defensive purposes, made a leaping catch into the stands on Tyler Austin’s one-out high foul in the seventh.
O’Malley had to push past a fan to make the catch. He held the ball-in-glove aloft as, twisting, he fell backward into the seats.
First-base umpire Jeff Nelson, the crew chief, went down the line and verified the catch.
Stat pack With two homers and a single, Gary Sanchez (54) became the second Yankees player in history to reach 50-plus total bases in his first 19 games. The other is Joe DiMaggio (56).
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners