SEATTLE — The Mariners’ Taijuan Walker was OK in his return from the minors. CC Sabathia was much better.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run homer and Sabathia pitched seven innings to win for the third time in two months, leading the New York Yankees over Seattle 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Walker (4-8), recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Tacoma, allowed four runs — three earned — and six hits in 5 2/3 innings, with three walks and five strikeouts.
“He hung in there and competed. He made a few mistakes,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “I thought he was OK, his effort was good. Not quite the command on the edges with the fastball, not what he needed tonight.”
Walker was 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four April starts before his inconsistency resulted in his demotion to Tacoma, where he allowed three hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his last of two minor league starts.
“I got ahead but I just couldn’t put them away early enough,” Walker said. “They took some pitches and fouled some off, and my pitch count got up there a little bit. Overall, I felt like everything was good.”
Sabathia (8-10) was 2-6 with a 6.78 ERA in his previous 11 starts. He gave up a run in the third inning on a triple by Leonys Martin and single by Ketel Marte, but allowed just one single and his lone walk over the next four innings.
Tommy Layne pitched a perfect eighth and Dellin Betances worked around a two-out single to finish the four-hitter.
“The story tonight was our offense got just shut down,” Servais said. “That’s the first time that has happened in a long time. Got to give credit to Sabathia he threw the ball really well. Textbook, pitching 101, back and forth, changing speeds, on the edges, pitching inside. He was very effective against us tonight, obviously.”
Ellsbury staked New York to a 3-1 lead in the fifth with his sixth home run, a two-run shot to right-center that followed a leadoff double by Ronald Torreyes.
The Yankees made it 4-1 in the sixth when Mark Teixeira doubled, took third on Brian McCann’s groundout and scored on Aaron Judge’s sacrifice fly to center.
New York added an unearned run in the ninth when Ellsbury reached on a two-base error by left fielder Guillermo Heredia and scored on Didi Gregorius’ ground-rule double.
ZUNINO BIG IN THE BIGS
C Mike Zunino, recalled from Tacoma on July 20, was 0 for 2 with a walk and has reached base safely in 19 straight games. Over that span, he is hitting .291 with six homers, four doubles, 16 RBIs and eight walks.
Mariners: RHP Tony Zych was recalled from a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma and activated off the 60-day disable list Tuesday. Zych was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 10 early season relief appearances before going on the 15-day DL (right rotator cuff tendinitis) in early May and was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 24. IF/OF Stefen Romero, who was called up Friday, was sent back to Tacoma.
MORE MARINERS MOVES: To make room for Walker, the Mariners optioned RHP Cody Martin to Tacoma. Martin was called up Aug. 16, his third stint with Seattle this season. He made two spot starts without a decision, including Monday’s 7-5 victory over the Yankees, when he allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings — with all the runs coming on four home runs.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (10-4, 3.24 ERA) has won three consecutive starts for the first time since July 9-23 of 2015. He is 4-0 in four career starts against the Mariners, including 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA at Safeco Field. Tanaka will be facing former Japanese teammate Hisashi Iwakuma, with whom he played from 2007-11 with Rakuten. The two also met in April, with Tanaka getting the victory and Iwakuma the loss in a 4-3 Yankees’ win.
Mariners: In a season of injuries, trades and roster shuffling, RHP Iwakuma (14-8, 3.78) has been the most consistent member of the rotation, leading in starts (25), victories and strikeouts. He is 13-4 in his last 17 starts.
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