May 2, 2014 12:54PM
By Mike Fitzpatrick
AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK — Robinson Cano doubled and drove in two runs, Roenis Elias struck out 10 in seven impressive innings and the Seattle Mariners beat the New York Yankees 4-2 Thursday night.
Michael Saunders had three hits, including an RBI double, to help the Mariners win for the fifth time in six games following an eight-game skid. Seattle won both games in a rain-shortened series that marked Cano’s return to New York after signing a $240 million, 10-year contract with the Mariners during the offseason. The All-Star second baseman was booed again and finished the series 2 for 9 with three RBIs.
Seattle has won four straight at Yankee Stadium dating to last season.
Hiroki Kuroda (2-3) gave up four runs — three earned — and seven hits in six innings, lowering his ERA slightly to 5.14. It was a marked improvement over his previous outing Friday night, when the 39-year-old right-hander was hammered in a 13-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Elias (2-2) gave up a leadoff homer to Jacoby Ellsbury but not much else in the rookie’s first appearance against the Yankees. Yoervis Media worked a perfect eighth, and Fernando Rodney got three outs for his sixth save.
Ellsbury, who sat out Tuesday with a sore left hand, sent Elias’ fourth pitch to right field for his first home run with the Yankees. It was New York’s first leadoff shot since Derek Jeter connected at the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 21, 2012. Elias struck out the next three batters and settled in from there. Featuring a sharp breaking ball, he induced two double-play grounders and struck out the side in the fifth.
The left-hander from Cuba threw 73 of his 110 pitches for strikes, starting 21 of his 28 batters with a strike. He allowed six hits and two runs — one earned — while walking two.
Cano hit an RBI double in the first and a run-scoring groundout in the third after Jeter made an error at shortstop on Brad Miller’s leadoff grounder.
Miller dumped a two-out RBI single in front of hesitant left fielder Brett Gardner in the fourth. Saunders followed with a ground-rule double that made it 4-1.
New York cut it to 4-2 in the sixth on Brian McCann’s run-scoring single with two outs after Cano was charged with an error. Elias retired Yangervis Solarte with two on to end the inning.
The Yankees did not get another baserunner until a two-out single by pinch-hitter Ichiro Suzuki in the ninth.
NOTES: After the rainout Wednesday, the Mariners pushed back ace Felix Hernandez one day to Friday night in Houston. Elias had been scheduled to start Wednesday, followed by Hernandez on Thursday. “Give him an extra day and it also gives Elias an extra day. It just made sense,” manager Lloyd McClendon said.
“Felix has been taxed quite a bit and he’s pitched on regular rest for quite a while. It’s an opportunity to get him where we need him to be. His last two outings have not been sterling outings, I think we would agree. So it gives us a chance to freshen him up and get him back on the right track.” ... Seattle has not announced a starter for Saturday or Sunday. McClendon said it’s possible All-Star RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (finger) will come off the disabled list to make his season debut this weekend. ... McClendon sat struggling CF Abraham Almonte, who was replaced by Saunders in the leadoff spot. Almonte entered on defense in the eighth. ... New York manager Joe Girardi confirmed RHP David Phelps will move into Michael Pineda’s rotation spot. Phelps, who has been in the bullpen all season, threw about 80 pitches in a simulated game indoors Wednesday to get stretched out. He is lined up to start Monday night at the Los Angeles Angels. Pineda is serving a 10-game suspension for having pine tar on his neck and is expected to miss three to four weeks with a strained muscle in his back near his surgically repaired shoulder. ... Yankees INF Brendan Ryan (spine) will have his rehab assignment transferred to Double-A Trenton on Friday. He is about 10 at-bats from being ready to return, Girardi said. ... Ellsbury has 11 career leadoff homers.