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NEW YORK (AP) – Since he was born, Robinson Cano has shared a special bond with Jackie Robinson.
On Friday night, Cano kept celebrating that most meaningful connection.
The slumping Cano got two more hits on Jackie Robinson Day as the Seattle Mariners sent the New York Yankees to their third straight loss, 7-1.
“It’s one of my favorite days,” Cano said. “I don’t know my exact numbers but, oh yes, I know I’ve done well on this day.”
Cano’s father, a former major league pitcher, named his son for the Brooklyn Dodgers great. Cano improved to 14 for 38 (.368) with three home runs and seven RBIs on April 15, the day all major leaguers honor the late Hall of Famer by wearing his No. 42. Cano also once hit a three-run homer when the tribute by his team came a day later.
As he spoke postgame, Cano glanced at the television in the Seattle clubhouse and saw Sharon Robinson, Jackie’s daughter, being interviewed at Dodger Stadium. Cano wore 24 – the reverse of Robinson’s number – for a while when he played for the Yankees.
“To be named for him, to wear his number, that means a lot,” he said. “You watch, you learn about him, it’s like a movie.”
Cano was 1 for 19 when he hit an early RBI single. He began the season on a home run binge, but had cooled off.
Chris Iannetta homered, singled twice and drove in three runs. The Mariners opened a nine-game trip by boosting their road record to 3-1. They are 1-5 at Safeco Field.
Nathan Karns (1-1) and the Mariners’ bullpen kept wriggling out of jams. Acquired from Tampa Bay in the offseason, Karns posted his first win with Seattle, working around five hits and four walks in five innings.
“Karns hung in there,” manager Scott Servais said. “Tight-roped a little bit.”
Former Yankees pitcher Vidal Nuno retired Mark Teixeira on a grounder with the bases loaded to end the sixth, protecting a 4-1 lead. First baseman Adam Lind made a nifty scoop on a bounced throw by shortstop Ketel Marte for the final out.
Luis Severino (0-2) gave up four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. Sharp last year as a rookie, he was tagged for a career-worst 10 hits by Detroit last week in his first start of the season.
“Sometimes pitchers get off to slow starts. Sometimes hitters get off to slow starts,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “Everything can change with one good outing and then all of a sudden your numbers don’t look so bad.”
Franklin Gutierrez had a sacrifice fly as a pinch hitter against ex-Mariners pitcher Tyler Olson and added an RBI double.
Brett Gardner homered in the New York first. That was all the Yankees managed to score as they began a nine-game homestand.
Mariners: It wasn’t certain before the game whether righty setup man Joaquin Benoit would be available. He hasn’t pitched since last Friday because of tightness in his back and shoulder.
Yankees: Alex Rodriguez didn’t play, a day after his rut reached 0 for 14 in Toronto. The 40-year-old DH is hitting just .120 (3 for 25) with one home run and two RBIs following his 33-homer performance last year. Girardi called it a regular day off and didn’t express any anxiety over A-Rod’s slow start.
“I’ve said, when you’re 40, people are going to always question, is it his age?” Girardi said.
Girardi did acknowledge that slumps in April can appear “more glaring.”
“When it’s early in the season and you’re 40 and you’re Alex, you’re going to be asked about every day,” he said.
LOTS OF LEFTIES
Including switch-hitters, 15 of the 18 batters in the starting lineups came up swinging lefty. The only pure right-handers: Nelson Cruz and Iannetta of the Mariners, and Starlin Castro of the Yankees. Chase Headley started in the ninth spot for the first time in his career – Girardi said he was trying to break up the lefties in the lineup.
Mariners: Felix Hernandez (0-1, 0.69 ERA) makes his third start of the season, looking for his first win and some run support. He is 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA in eight starts at the new Yankee Stadium. Teixeira has hit six home runs off him, the most by any batter vs. King Felix.
Yankees: CC Sabathia makes his second start after winning with six innings at Detroit in his season debut. He’ll become the 10th pitcher to make 200 career starts with multiple teams, having also done it with Cleveland.
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