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The New York Yankees overcame a major nemesis when they beat Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in the opener of a three-game series. The task figures to be considerably less imposing against former teammate Hector Noesi and the Mariners on Saturday, particularly with the way Robinson Cano is swinging the bat. The red-hot Cano went 4-for-4 to pace a 14-hit attack Friday, lifting his average above .300 for the first time since the third game of the season. He has nine hits in his last 12 at-bats and is riding a 12-game hitting streak.
The Mariners arrived in the Bronx having won four of five, but they continued their struggles away from home by absorbing their seventh consecutive road loss. While Dustin Ackley and Jesus Montero hit home runs, perhaps the most encouraging development for Seattle was the three-hit game by first baseman Justin Smoak. The key player in the Cliff Lee trade two years ago, Smoak has been slumping miserably and was batting only .100 (3-for-30) through the first nine games this month.
Mariners Yankees Betting
When: 4:05 PM ET, Saturday, May 12, 2012
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, ROOT Sports (Seattle), YES (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Mariners RH Hector Noesi (2-3, 6.30 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Phil Hughes (2-4, 6.67 ERA)
Noesi was acquired from the Yankees as part of the off-season trade that sent Michael Pineda to New York. The 25-year-old Dominican has not made the smoothest transition to starter, although he’s coming off one of his best outings of the season. Noesi allowed one run on four hits in seven innings against Minnesota. He has surrendered six homers in 30 innings and has struggled away from home.
Hughes is also coming off his best start, giving up three runs while striking out a season-high seven in a season-best 6 2/3 innings. The timing couldn’t have been better for Hughes, who had allowed 20 runs in his previous four starts amid whispers he could be shifted to the bullpen with Andy Pettitte set to make his season debut Sunday. Ichiro Suzuki is 6-for-14 against Hughes.
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1. Cano has raised his batting average 53 points – from .255 to .308 – after going 12-for-20 in his last five games.
2. Ackley, who extending his hitting streak to seven games Friday, is 3-for-6 against Hughes.
3. Seattle’s seven-game road skid is its longest since dropping 13 straight last year, a streak which ended against the Yankees on July 27.