SEATTLE -- Clint Frazier hit a go-ahead two-run double in the sixth and four relievers combined for shutout relief to lift the Yankees to a 6-4 win over the Mariners at Safeco Field on Sunday.
New York recorded its first series win since a three-game sweep of the Orioles from June 9-11. With Sunday's win, New York remains 2 1/2 games back of the Red Sox in the tightly contested American League East and a game up on the Royals and the Rays for the first AL Wild Card spot.
"Especially going into an off-day, we can build on this," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Obviously we've been struggling for awhile and started out [after the All-Star break] on a road trip, and being able to have a positive road trip is a good sign, to me."
Frazier's double to left field off Mariners reliever Tony Zych capped off a three-run inning for the Yankees, who reclaimed the lead after the Mariners poured on four runs in the fourth inning. In the sixth, Chase Headley and Todd Frazier worked back-to-back walks and Ronald Torreyes singled to load the bases for Brett Gardner, who lined a single into left field for an RBI, tying the game at 4.
New York's offense was supported early on by the long ball, as Gardner launched a leadoff home run in the first off Seattle starter Yovani Gallardo, and Didi Gregorius hit homers in the second and fourth, the first multi-home run game of his career.
Gallardo was able to limit the damage to just the three solo home runs and left with the lead.
"It was the second pitch of the game. It was actually a pretty good pitch, he just went out and got it and pulled it," Gallardo said of Gardner's homer. "It was just one of those things where you try to make a pitch to get back in the count and he hits it out of the ballpark. The other two pitches [to Gregorius] were mistakes."
Yankees starter Caleb Smith took a no-decision in his first Major League start, and Chad Green (1-0) picked up his first Major League win after striking out three batters in 2 1/3 scoreless innings. Albertin Chapman earned his 11th save despite finding his way into trouble in the ninth inning by allowing two hits.
Mariners reliever James Pazos took the loss, as he was charged with all three runs in the sixth. Gallardo finished with a no-decision in his first start since returning to the Mariners' rotation, allowing five hits in five innings.
"Down 3-0, I thought our guys did a great job to battle back," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "Got some big hits, just not enough. It kind of came down to a battle of bullpens today, and theirs was a little bit sharper than we were in the sixth inning."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Well, that was quick: Gardner put the Yankees on the scoreboard quickly, launching a leadoff home run in the first inning. It was a tough opening at-bat for Gallardo, who made his first start since June 17 after being relegated to the bullpen due to a string of poor outings.
Second time's the charm: Held to one hit through three innings, the Mariners tagged Smith for four hits and a walk the second time through the lineup in a four-run fourth to erase a 3-0 deficit. Seattle loaded the bases with none out on singles by Danny Valencia and Robinson Cano, and a walk to Nelson Cruz. Ben Gamel continued to torment his former team with a two-out, two-run single to right. Guillermo Heredia then chased Smith with a two-run double.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Yankees challenged that Gardner was safe at first base in what was ruled an inning-ending double play in the fourth. The replay crew overturned the original call, determining that Gardner beat Cano's throw to first to keep the inning alive. It didn't amount to anything, as Clint Frazier flied to center field in the next at-bat, stranding runners at first and third.
"Mental mistake. Physical mistakes happen. That's a mental mistake. I know Taylor's not out there every day, but when you're in that role, you've got to be mentally sharp and understand the situation. That run, we're down by two, it's not like it's the tying run. Really no need to get picked off there. But, mental mistakes happen, and they certainly hurt. -- Servais, after Taylor Motter ran for Cruz and was promptly picked off first in the ninth, preceding a double by Kyle Seager
"Probably because of the season that [Aaron Judge] had has had, a lot of our guys' seasons have been overlooked to this point. I understand how that happens, but yeah, Didi has been big. He hadn't had much success off of Gallardo going into it, but I still felt like it was a good matchup for him, and it turned out to be. I mean, he's had a really good start to the second half." -- Girardi
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
After taking three of four games at Safeco, the Yankees are now 13-2 in their last 15 games in Seattle since 2011. New York's 52-29 (.638) is the best record by any visiting club against the Mariners since Safeco was opened in 1999.
Yankees:Jordan Montgomery (6-5, 4.09) toes the rubber for the Yankees on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET against the Reds, following an off-day on Monday. Montgomery lost his first start in eight decisions in his last outing on Wednesday at Minnesota, allowing six runs on seven hits in six frames in a loss to the Twins. The rookie left-hander is 4-2 with a 3.63 in his past 11 starts.
Mariners: Left-hander James Paxton (9-3, 3.05), who has been Seattle's most dependable starter, opens the three-game series against the Red Sox at Safeco Field on Monday at 7:10 p.m. PT. In two starts this season against Boston, he has allowed one earned run in 16 innings. Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.66) gets the nod for the Red Sox.
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