Yanks hope to stay hot on West Coast

The Yankees couldn’t beat the Mariners at Yankee Stadium but couldn’t lose to them at Safeco Field. Seattle with its new second baseman, Robinson Cano, was victorious over the Yankees April 29 and May 1 at the Stadium as well as the June 2 rainout makeup game. The past three nights at Safeco was a whole different story, however, and there was nothing Cano could do about it.

The three-game sweep by the Yankees was impressive considering that the Mariners were hot entering the series while the Yanks were struggling with a fizzling offense. Their 6-3 victory Thursday night marked the first time in 13 games that the Yankees scored more than four runs. Derek Jeter heated up during the series with seven hits, including a double, and two RBI in 12 at-bats, a .583 clip that raised his average 17 points to .271.

The turnaround in fortunes home and away matched that of the Subway Series this year with the Mets winning the two games at Yankee Stadium May 12 and 13 and the Yankees taking the two games at Citi Field May 14 and 15. This marks the only two instances in franchise history that the Yankees lost all of its home games and won all its road games against the same opponent in a single season.

A drawback from Thursday night’s victory was Jacoby Ellsbury coming out of the game in the late innings because of a strained right hip. Ellsbury has broken out of an early-season slump to go on a 16-game hitting streak dating to May 26, which is the longest for the Yankees since a 19-gamer by Jeter in 2012 from Sept. 4-25. Ellsbury’s streak is the longest active streak in the majors, the third-longest in the American League this season, and tied for sixth-longest in the majors. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that it is longest hitting streak by a Yankees center fielder since Melky Cabrera hit in 18 straight games in 2007.

During the streak, Ellsbury is batting .381 with nine runs, three doubles, two home runs, 12 RBI, seven walks, seven stolen bases and a .443 on-base percentage in 63 at-bats. It is his longest hitting streak since a 19-gamer with the Red Sox last year from May 19 through July 11. His career best is a 22-game streak in 2009 from May 2-27. Ellsbury is tied for second in the AL with 18 stolen bases with the Tigers’ Rajai Davis, six behind league leader Jose Altuve of the Astros. Ellsbury had the game-winning RBI in the Yankees’ past three games. Elias notes that he is the first Yankees player with the game-winning RBI in three straight team games since Nick Swisher in 2012 from Aug. 13-15.

All three of the Yankees’ victories in Seattle came in games in which their starting pitcher was a rookie. The Yankees are 21-8 in games started by rookie pitchers (Masahiro Tanaka, 11-2; Vidal Nuno, 5-5; Chase Whitley, 5-1), including 15-1 on the road (Tanaka, 6-1; Nuno, 4-0; Whitley, 5-0). Yankees rookie starters have a 2.73 combined ERA in 181 innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of their past eight outings (1.87 ERA in 53 innings). According to Elias, the Yankees have started rookies in 29 of their first 65 games, their highest such total since 1910 when the Highlanders had 30 of their first 65 starts by Russ Ford, Hippo Vaughn and John Frill.

The Yankees finish the trip with a three-game weekend set at Oakland against an Athletics team that has the best record (40-26) in the AL. Mark Teixeira has hit more home runs against the A’s (36) than any other opponent. His total against Oakland ranks second among all active players (Alex Rodriguez has 43HR). Tex has hit more home runs at O.co Coliseum (20) than any other ballpark as a visiting player. That, too, ranks second only to A-Rod, who has 21.

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