For the second time in a week, Seattle reliever David Aardsma was victimized by Alex Rodriguez. With the score tied at one in the top of the ninth, Rodriguez delivered a two-out, two-run double to lift New York to a 3-1 win over Seattle Thursday night at Safeco Field.
Last Thursday, Rodriguez hit a two-run, go-ahead home run off Aardsma in the bottom of the eighth inning en route to a 4-2 Yankees win.
New York matched a season-high with their sixth consecutive win. Seattle lost their fourth straight and dropped to 1-7 in the month of July.
Derek Jeter walked with one out in the top of the ninth. Nick Swisher, who was voted to the All-Star Game earlier in the day, then doubled to right field to put runners at second and third. Swisher finished the game with four hits and is batting .571 (12-21) in his last five games.
After Mark Teixeira fouled out for the second out, Rodriguez slapped a two-run single between first and second base to plate the game-winning runs. Rodriguez has tallied seven RBI in his last three games.
Andy Pettitte (11-2), who was added to the AL All-Star roster on Monday, limited Seattle to one run on five hits over eight innings. He struck out nine and walked four. Pettitte entered the game with a career 4.51 ERA in 22 starts against the Mariners. Mariano Rivera pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save.
Jason Vargas was equally as effective in shutting down the powerful Yankees offense. He pitched seven innings of one run ball while allowing nine hits with three strikeouts and two walks. Vargas had allowed nine runs and 15 hits in his last 9.1 innings. Aardsma (0-6) suffered the loss in relief.
Both teams had opportunities to score in the first inning. New York put the first two runners on base with an error and single. However, Teixeira hit into a double play and Rodriguez lined out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Ichiro Suzuki reached on an infield single. Chone Figgins followed with a single, but Brett Gardner threw out Suzuki at third base. Pettitte retired the next two batters to end the inning.
Seattle finally broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning. Josh Wilson and Michael Saunders started the inning with back-to-back singles. Suzuki then bunted back to Pettitte, who promptly threw the ball past Teixeira and down the right field line to allow Wilson to score from second.
After committing the error to allow the go-ahead run to score, Pettitte settled down with runners at second and third and no outs. Figgins grounded out and Franklin Gutierrez was intentionally walked to load the bases. Pettitte responded by striking out Russell Branyan and Jose Lopez to end the scoring threat.
New York tied the game in the top of the eighth. With runners at first and second, reliever Brian Sweeney uncorked a wild pitch to move the runners up one base. Rodriguez scored the tying run when Jorge Posada hit into a 4-4-3 double play.
A pair of All-Star pitchers will be featured in Friday’s second game of the series. Phil Hughes (10-2, 3.83) will start for New York, while Seattle will counter with Cliff Lee (8-3, 2.34). First pitch is set for 10:10 p.m. ET.