Rivera falters in 12th as Yankees fall to Seattle

May 29, 2011 - 4:15 AM
Yankees Mariners Baseball

New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner flips over the ball after he got caught up in turf and missed a fly ball from Seattle Mariners' Justin Smoak in the 12th inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 28, 2011, in Seattle. Smoak's singles started a rally and the Mariners won 5-4 in 12 innings. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE (AP) — Mariano Rivera wasn't making any excuses, even if every break went Seattle's way in the 12th inning.

Brett Gardner nearly came up with Justin Smoak's sinking liner. Jack Cust's double caused chalk to come off the grass down the left-field line.

And Adam Kennedy's game-winning single just happened to fall into a vacant pocket in shallow center field to give the Mariners a 5-4 win over the Yankees on Saturday night.

"The whole inning felt like that," Rivera said after suffering his first loss since September 2010. "That's when things are going to happen. What are you going to do? It's over."

Kennedy had just one hit in his previous 13 at-bats against Rivera.

The Yankees lost their second straight to start a nine-game West Coast trip, even though they finally knocked around Seattle ace Felix Hernandez and got 7 1-3 scoreless innings of relief from their bullpen before Rivera faltered in the 12th.

But New York missed chances in the late inning and in extras to get to the Mariners bullpen that was equally as strong.

"It's frustrating. We had leads in both the games, that's the frustrating part," Yankees' manager Joe Girardi said. "We weren't able to hold them."

Rivera's inning started as most do, getting a broken bat grounder from Chone Figgins, before Smoak blooped a single to left that Gardner barely missed on a diving attempt. Cust then came up with the big blow, going the other way with a backdoor cutter that Rivera left up and dropping a double just inside the left field line. Smoak raced to third with just one out.

"He was trying to backdoor the cutter. He likes to come in with it and once he comes in he likes to freeze you away which he's done to me before," Cust said.

Rivera thought it was a good pitch, but didn't make excuses afterward.

"I made good pitches and the ball found places," Rivera said. "You can't do anything about that. I wish we were still playing."

After an intentional walk to Franklin Gutierrez to load the bases, Kennedy dropped an 0-1 pitch over the drawn-in infield and in front of Curtis Granderson in center. Seattle has won nine of 10.

Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano both homered off Hernandez, who was going for a fifth straight win against the Yankees. It was Cano's 10th homer of the season and one of his best swings of the year.

"Not only swings, but at-bats," Cano said. "But it's not about how do you feel in one at-bat, it's about winning games. They played a good game and we lost."

Teixeira's homer in the fourth gave New York a 3-1 lead, but that was quickly gone as Yankees' starter Ivan Nova struggled. Nova failed to make it out of the fourth and the Yankees were down 4-3 by the end of the inning.

It remained that way into the seventh and it looked like Hernandez was going to be in line for his sixth win of the season. But Derek Jeter walked on a 3-2 pitch with two outs and Granderson eventually worked a 3-2 count as well, then hit a fastball to deep right field.

Suzuki raced back to the warning track and jumped at the wall, but misjudged the depth of Granderson's hit and didn't need to jump. Suzuki whiffed and the ball bounded back into the field, Jeter scored and Granderson raced around to third.

Granderson was left there after Alex Rodriguez struck out on Hernandez's 128th pitch. The Yankees also missed chances in the 10th and 11th. New York had runners on the corners in the 10th, but Suzuki ran down Russell Martin's two-out drive to right-center.

Nick Swisher singled with one out in the 11th off reliever David Pauley (4-0) who got the win for the second straight night. Swisher was replaced by pinch-runner Chris Dickerson but he was left at second when Jeter couldn't come through with a two-out hit.

NOTES: Jeter had career steal No. 327 in the third inning, moving him past Rickey Henderson for most in Yankees' history. ... Four different fans, including a streaker, ran on the field in the late innings. All were tackled by security and removed from the stadium. ... Former Mariners Edgar Martinez and John Olerud were honored as inductees to the Washington state sports hall of fame during a pregame ceremony. ... New York's game against Minnesota that was rained out on April 6 will be made up on Monday, Sept. 19 at Yankee Stadium.

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Tim Booth can be reached at: http://twitter.com/tjbooth7