SEATTLE — Nestor Cortes was nasty and Aaron Judge crushed a home run. Still, that familiar formula that led to so much Yankees success earlier in the season just wasn’t enough on Wednesday. The Mariners rallied in the seventh and beat the Yankees 4-3 in the series finale at T-Mobile Park.
It was the second straight loss for the Yankees, who dropped both series to the Mariners this season. They are 1-5 on this road trip that heads to Boston for a series that begins on Friday. The Bombers have only won one of their last eight games and have dropped behind the Astros — who play Wednesday night — for the best record in the American League.
“We just continue to play a bunch of tight ball games that unfortunately this past week especially we’ve been for the most part on the short side of it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of this stretch. “So it’s just getting everything synched up on given days. Obviously, last night we played really, really well on defense to give us a chance, but I feel like that’s a game we should have taken advantage of. Obviously, we got some key guys out [with injuries] right now, but I have a ton of confidence in the guys we’ve got rolling out there in their place.
“I feel like we’re close to getting it rolling here again. Just gotta continue to grind away right now.”
Cortes carried a no-hitter into the sixth. He gave up three runs on three hits. He walked one and struck out 10, two shy of his season and career high.
Sam Haggerty crushed a 94 mph fastball with one out in the sixth inning for the first hit off Cortes all day. The ball hit off the left-field foul pole for not just the first hit, but the first run of the game. Cortes took a minute to settle himself after that, walking behind the mound and cleaning his cleats before getting back to business. He struck out Jarred Kelenic and then got Adam Frazier to pop out to second base.
In the seventh, however, Cortes gave up a lead-off single to Ty France, who scored on a Mitch Haniger single. That was it for Cortes.
Albert Abreu was one of the few arms available in the weary bullpen that has been shaky since they lost Michael King for the season to an elbow fracture. Abreu came in and gave up a go-ahead home run to Carlos Santana, allowing Haniger to score, to hang another run on Cortes’ line.
The 27-year-old had faced the minimum up to that point. He had issued a leadoff walk to Eugenio Suarez in the second, but the Mariners’ third baseman was caught in an inning-ending double play.
The Yankees had more opportunities against Robbie Ray than the Mariners did against Cortes, but couldn’t cash in until the seventh. Isiah Kiner-Falefa worked an eight-pitch walk and Kyle Higashioka made the Mariners’ lefty pay with his 403-foot shot over the left-center field wall.
That snapped a 19-inning scoreless streak for the Yankees, who suffered their eighth shutout of the season Tuesday night in a 13-inning loss. Judge followed with his 412-foot home run to left-field off right-handed reliever Penn Murfee.
The Yankees offense, however, is not clicking like it once was. They are 6-10 since Giancarlo Stanton went on the injured list on July 24 and 0-2 since Matt Carpenter was put on the IL with a fractured foot.
Aaron Hicks and Miguel Andujar had back-to-back, two-out singles in the second, but the rally ended when Kiner-Falefa popped up. Judge drew a two-out walk in the third and Rizzo, playing for the first time after missing five games with lower back tightness, grounded out. In the fifth, DJ LeMahieu and Judge each walked with two outs and Rizzo struck out swinging.
The Yankees stranded six runners and went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.