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The Yankees’ early outburst propels them to series-opening win over Mariners

Two dinger-happy teams lived up to the billing in the series opener.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Mariners came into this game as the major league leaders in home runs, but in the first couple innings of this game, the Yankees looked like the team way out ahead of everyone else in that category. In the first two innings of the game alone, the Yankees hit three home runs off Felix Hernandez. They racked up seven runs in the first three innings, and looked like they might run away with the game.

They didn’t, and Seattle showed their power, hitting a couple home runs off CC Sabathia to make things not quite as comfortable. However, the Yankees’ early barrage was more than enough, allowing them to take the series opener 7-3.

The Yankees didn’t waste much time in getting on the board. DJ LeMahieu led off the game for the Yankees with a ground-rule double after Mariners’ third baseman Ryon Healy misjudged a ball down the line. Luke Voit then made Seattle immediately pay for that mistake by homering on the very next pitch, giving the Yankees a lead before recording an out.

Things then got even better for the Yankees in the second. Brett Gardner led off the inning with a home run. Two batters later, Thairo Estrada hit a two-run shot for his first career home run. Two more batters after that, LeMahieu singled home Mike Tauchman, who had doubled. In the next frame, the Yankees made it three-for-three in terms of innings scored in. Gardner hit a two-out triple, and then scored on a Gio Urshela single, taking the Yankees’ lead to seven runs.

The Mariners eventually got on the board in the top of the fourth. After Sabathia walked Edwin Encarnacion, Domingo Santana hit a home run of his own, cutting into the Yankees’ lead a bit. Dee Gordon followed that with another homer the following inning.

Sabathia would get through five innings, but not before leaving the bases loaded with AL co-home run leader Jay Bruce at the plate. He didn’t come back out for the sixth and ended with a line of three runs allowed on five hits and three walks. It was a typical late stage Sabathia outing: good early on, but started to struggled as the game went into the middle innings.

Only two Yankees actually reached base after the second inning, but it didn’t end up much mattering. Other than another iffy performance from Jonathan Holder, the Yankees’ bullpen was strong. Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, and Luis Cessa allowed no runners between them across the final 3.2 innings. That allowed the Yankees to wrap up the win and get the series off to a perfect start.

The Rays won as well tonight, so the Yankees remained two games back of first place in the AL East at 20-14. They’ve now won two in a row after taking this series opener, and will look to make it three tomorrow night at 6:35 EST. Masahiro Tanaka will take the ball in that one in opposition of Marco Gonzales.

Box score.