With Robinson Cano's return to Yankee Stadium out of the way, the Seattle Mariners can solely focus on continuing their current success in the Bronx.
The Mariners can do that with a fourth consecutive road victory over New York on Thursday night after Wednesday's meeting was postponed because of rain.Greeted by a chorus of boos, Cano struck out Tuesday in his first at-bat in New York since the former Yankees star signed a $240 million contract with Seattle (11-14) over the winter. Though Cano fanned twice in five at-bats, he also singled, had one RBI and scored a run during the Mariners' 6-3 victory.Cano was able to block out the jeers, and claimed he never heard the chant of "You sold out!" from the "Bleacher Creatures" when he took his spot at second base."That's something I can't control," he said. "I'm not surprised. Just got to go out there and play my game."Cano is batting .387 in his last eight games for Seattle, which has scored 26 runs while winning four of five following an eight-game skid during which it totaled 18."I've gotten used to not seeing him here, but then seeing him in another uniform because we don't play him in the spring is kind of an odd picture," said longtime double-play partner Derek Jeter, who is 1 for 9 in the last two games.Catcher Mike Zunino had a career-high four hits after going 0 for 11 in his previous four games for the Mariners, who have batted .325 while outscoring the Yankees 21-7 during their winning streak in the Bronx.Rookie Roenis Elias (1-2, 3.54 ERA) will try to extend that run as he makes his first appearance against New York.Posting a 5.56 ERA while going 0-1 in his last two starts, the left-hander lasted 5 2/3 innings in each and gave up three runs during a 6-5 victory over Texas on Friday.The Yankees counter with Hiroki Kuroda (2-2, 5.28), who is coming off one of his worst starts since signing with New York before the 2012 season. The right-hander allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings of Friday's 13-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.Kuroda also gave up two homers after allowing that many in his first 24 1/3 innings."I think he'll figure it out," manager Joe Girardi told the Yankees' official website. "It's been a little up and down (so far this season). Tonight, he could never find it."Kuroda is 2/3 with a 3.27 ERA in five starts against the Mariners, dropping the last two while receiving a total of one run of support. Cano is 1 for 3 in their matchups.Mark Teixeira homered in his second consecutive game Tuesday for New York, which failed to win three in a row. Teixeira is 3 for 17 with six walks and six strikeouts in his last six contests, but each hit left the park.It's uncertain if teammate Jacoby Ellsbury will be available after he missed Tuesday's game with a sore left hand."It's just been bothering him for a few days," Girardi said. "He's been playing through it."Ellsbury went 1 for 10 with four strikeouts in the Angels series but is batting .367 with two home runs and two doubles in his last seven games against Seattle.
Felix Hernandez has allowed a .170 batting average in at-bats to end in his changeup this season, more than 50 points less than the league average (.223). Hernandez has thrown the pitch 26 percent of the time, the second-highest rate among right-handed qualifiers. Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury have combined to hit .204 in at-bats to end in a righty changeup since the start of last season.