Stadium just how Cano remembered it
Think Robinson Cano misses Yankee Stadium? You bet he does. Oh, sure, he found 240 million reasons to leave the Yankees as a free agent after the 2013 season and sign a 10-year contract with Seattle where he has found Safeco Field to be no match for hitter friendliness as the right field porch at the Stadium.
Cano was back aiming at that porch Saturday and hit pay dirt twice with a couple of two-run home runs that accounted for all the Mariners’ runs in their 4-3 victory. Both blows were off Michael Pineda (9-6), who took the loss despite six serviceable innings.
For the second straight game, all of Seattle’s runs were the result of two home runs by one player. Friday night it was Kyle Seager in a 4-3 loss to the Yankees. Saturday, it was Cano, who has not been the same power hitter with the Mariners that he was with the Yankees.
In nine seasons with the Yankees, Cano averaged 23 home runs a year. In his second season with the Mariners, Cano has hit 22 home runs total in 949 at-bats, the equivalent of almost two full seasons. The change in venue has been part of it. Including his game Saturday, Cano is a .312 career hitter at Yankee Stadium with 81 home runs, 293 RBI and an OPS above .900 in 1,544 at-bats. At Safeco Field, he has batted for a decent average (.298) but has only 16 home runs and 75 RBI in 608 career at-bats.
Cano has dealt with some health problems this year, especially a chronic case of acid reflux that has sapped some of his strength and presented nutritional issues. But there have been signs lately that he is turning his season around, which has coincided with Edgar Martinez, the Mariners’ former two-time batting champion, joining the club as its hitting coach.
Cano is batting .333 (20-for-60) this month with 10 runs, four doubles, four home runs and 10 RBI in 14 games. In 25 games since June 17, he has hit .290 with 14 runs, seven doubles, six home runs and 15 RBI in 100 at-bats after batting .236 with 25 runs, 16 doubles, two home runs and 19 RBI in his first 63 games and 254 at-bats. Cano has six home runs over his past 21 games after hitting only two over his first 67 games of the year.
He definitely hurt the Yankees, who got a two-run home run from Brian McCann in the fourth inning off Hisashi Iwakuma (2-1) that tied the score. Two innings later, Cano victimized Pineda again.
The Yankees threatened in the ninth inning against righthander Carson Smith, who has replaced Fernando Rodney as Seattle’s closer, but came up a run short. Mark Teixeira, who led off the inning with a double to center, scored on an infield out by Garrett Jones. Chris Young, pinch running for Chase Headley who had reached first base on a third-strike wild pitch, was at second base with two out, but Didi Gregorius grounded out.
That left the Yankees 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the game. The Mariners were not any better (0-for-3). It is a rare game in which both sides fail in the clutch. This turned out to be a game of home runs, and for a change with his new club Robinson Cano had the higher total