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After a gushing ceremony on Tuesday and countless standing ovations over three days, the Derek Jeter retirement tour is finally exiting town. I think we are all happy about that. That tour left behind a destructive path of three straight losses for the Mariners in their own park.
Yep, the Mariners were swept.
So Seattle won all three games at Yankee Stadium and the Yankees won all three at Safeco.
The last game Jeter played in Safeco Field was productive, much like the whole series. The Yankees’ captain went 3-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBI along with about six standing ovations to lead the Yankees to a win. The three hits added up weren’t as hard Robinson Cano’s hard fly ball to center that was robbed by Jacoby Ellsbury.
But that’s what Jeter does. And he did it a lot this series.
In three games, Jeter went 7-for-12 in the series four runs scored, two RBI and two walks while being showered with almost excessive adulation for his every move.
A packed house of 40,596 – probably at least 40 percent Yankees’ fans and most of them clutching commemorative bobbleheads of local rapper Macklemore – saw a game that was pretty much decided after four innings.
It made getting swept that much more galling the Mariners, who hadn’t lost three straight games since May 13-17 when they had a four-game slide with two losses to the Rays and two to the Twins.
But after an eight-game losing streak earlier this season, manager Lloyd McClendon knows his team won’t panic.
“It’s not the end of the world,” he said. “It was a tough series. I just told my players, ‘be ready for tomorrow.’ It’s tough. It’s baseball. That’s the way it happens sometimes. We’ve been there before. We know we can survive it. We’ll be ready to play tomorrow.”
In their second time seeing Seattle starter Roenis Elias this season, the Yankees were ready for him.
Back on May 1 at Yankee Stadium, Elias tossed six innings, giving up two runs on six hits with 10 strikeouts in a 4-2 win.
On Thursday, he’d already given up two runs just three batters into the game.
Yankees hitters weren’t fooled this time. They took advantage of Elias’ command issues and capitalized immediately.
“I made some bat pitches,” Elias said through translator Fernando Alcala.
His change-up was not good on the night, it was cutting in on right-handers instead of sinking away. His fastball was all over the place. The curveball was decent, but it’s really never bad.
Catcher Mike Zunino thought the big crowd and playing the Yankees again might have had something to do with the spotty command.
“The change-up was a little firm,” Zunino said. “The arm speed was good, but it was coming out a little firm. I think sometimes the adrenaline gets the best of you. I think he had good stuff today, but he was just a little up in the zone.”
Elias pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving ups six runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts. It was easily his weakest outing of the year.
“He didn’t have command of his pitches tonight,” McClendon said. “It was a tough night for him all around. It’s tough when you get in a hole like that.”
Said Elias: “It’s baseball. Sometimes you get the results you want. Sometimes you don’t.”
As for positives …
Logan Morrison hit his first homer of the season – a solo shot to right off of starter Chase Whitley. He also added a RBI ground rule double in the ninth. It’s a big step for him after missing basically the first two months of the season.
“It’s pretty cool,” Morrison said. “It’s definitely not the way I envisioned things going.”
Besides Cano’s extra base hit getting robbed. Zunino had a sure double robbed by Gardner on a leaping catch and Romero had a ball in the gap run down by Ichiro.
“They made some good plays,” McClendon said. “We had good at-bats tonight. We swung the bats pretty darn good. We just didn’t have many positive results.”
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