NEW YORK (AP) – Yusei Kikuchi was brilliant on the mound in his Yankee Stadium debut, Ryon Healy had four extra-base hits and the Seattle Mariners routed New York 10-1 Wednesday night.
Healy homered and hit three doubles to help the Mariners win for only the second time in 10 games. Mitch Haniger and Edwin Encarnación also went deep as Seattle (20-19), which opened 13-2 this year, snapped a seven-game losing streak in the Bronx and avoided dropping below .500 for the first time since the final day of the 2017 season.
Kikuchi (2-1) pitched three-hit ball over 7 2/3 innings. After the game, Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he was aware cameras showed a dark substance – perhaps illegal pine tar – smudged under the brim of the rookie’s cap.
“I’ll take a look at it,” Boone said.
After walking his first batter, Kikuchi retired 16 in a row before Mike Tauchman fisted a bloop double over third base with one out in the sixth for New York’s first hit. DJ LeMahieu followed with a soft single to right field, and Luke Voit’s sacrifice fly prevented a shutout.
Facing an injury-depleted Yankees lineup stacked with eight right-handed hitters, Kikuchi was in complete control during his second consecutive stellar outing. The rookie left-hander from Japan struck out three and walked one while throwing 74 strikes on 106 pitches, his most in nine major league starts.
The 27-year-old Kikuchi signed a four-year, $56 million contract with Seattle in the offseason that could be worth up to $109 million over seven seasons if options are exercised. Last time out, he allowed only one run and three hits at Cleveland, striking out 10 in seven innings.
Encarnación had a sacrifice fly in the first and a solo shot off Jonathan Loaisiga (1-1) in the fifth. It was Encarnación’s second homer in two nights, fourth in five games and 12th of the season.
Haniger connected leading off the third, and Healy hit a two-run shot in the eighth. He finished 4 for 5.
Loaisiga was recalled from the minors to start in place of injured James Paxton, who was acquired from Seattle in an offseason trade. A year ago on this date, Paxton pitched a no-hitter for the Mariners in his native Canada against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Mariners: SS Tim Beckham was rested. … The team expects 3B Kyle Seager (left hand) will be ready to come off the 60-day injured list when he’s eligible on May 25. Seager could begin a minor league rehab assignment in the next five or six days. … Seattle manager Scott Servais said his guess is live batting practice will probably be the next step for LHP Wade LeBlanc (strained right oblique). … RHP Hunter Strickland (right lat strain) saw the doctor for a checkup this week and received a good report, Servais said. Strickland will start playing catch when the team returns home next week. He is eligible to come off the 60-day injured list June 5.
Yankees: C Gary Sánchez and OF Brett Gardner were rested. … There is a chance CF Aaron Hicks (lower back strain) will be reinstated from the injured list this weekend when New York plays at first-place Tampa Bay, Boone said. Otherwise, it could be on the following homestand next week. Hicks, sidelined all season, played nine innings in center field and went 0 for 3 with a walk Wednesday night in his third rehab game for Class A Tampa. He is hitless in 11 at-bats and scheduled for a day off Thursday. … 3B Gio Urshela came up hobbling after he fouled a ball off the bottom of his left knee in the seventh. He flied out to end the inning and was replaced in the field. X-rays were negative, and Urshela has a bruised knee. … OF-DH Giancarlo Stanton (biceps/shoulder) planned to hit off the machine in the indoor cage, Boone said.
Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (2-3, 4.91 ERA) pitches Thursday night in the finale of a four-game series. He lost both his previous starts against the Yankees, but hasn’t faced them since 2014 with Cincinnati.
Yankees: After a rough start to the season, LHP J.A. Happ (1-3, 4.93) has a 3.12 ERA in his last four outings. He is 4-2 with a 5.06 ERA in seven career starts against the Mariners, who traded him to Pittsburgh in July 2015.