Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/11/12

NEW YORK -- Raul Ibanez hit a go-ahead three-run homer in the sixth inning, Robinson Cano continued his torrid hitting by going 4-for-4 and Hiroki Kuroda threw seven solid innings as the New York Yankees defeated the Seattle Mariners, 6-2, Friday night in front of 37,226 at Yankee Stadium.

Mariners starter Felix Hernandez (3-2) bent but didn't break until Ibanez's homer, the ninth of the Yankees' 11 hits off Hernandez but their only one for extra bases.

The Yankees had runners on against Hernandez in every inning except the third but ran into outs in the first and fourth before breaking through in the sixth, when, with the Yankees down 2-1, Alex Rodriguez drew a leadoff walk, went to second on Cano's single and advanced to third on Mark Teixeira's fielder's choice grounder. After Nick Swisher struck out, Ibanez crushed Hernandez's next pitch over the right-field fence.

Andruw Jones hit a pinch-hit two-run homer in the eighth for the final margin.

Every starter except Russell Martin had at least one hit for the Yankees. The four hits by Cano gave him 14 hits in his last 26 at-bats (.538), and his seventh-inning double extended his streak of games with an extra-base hit to five. Rodriguez and Teixeira each had two singles.

Kuroda (3-4) allowed two runs -- solo homers by Dustin Ackley and former Yankees prospect Jesus Montero, whose trade to the Mariners in January opened up a spot for Ibanez -- on six hits and three walks while striking out two.

Hernandez entered Friday 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA in three starts at the new Yankee Stadium but gave up the four runs and issued two walks while striking out seven in 6 2/3 innings. Justin Smoak had three singles for the Mariners.

Hernandez and Kuroda each danced out of trouble in the first five innings.

Ackley's first career leadoff homer gave the Mariners a quick lead, but the Yankees tied it in the bottom half of the first when Curtis Granderson singled, stole second and scored on Robinson Cano's single.

Kiroda allowed the first two batters to reach in the second but retired the next nine in a row. The Mariners then loaded the bases with one out in the fifth via two singles, a fielder's choice and a walk before Kiroda wriggled out of the jam by striking out Brendan Ryan and getting Ichiro Suzuki to hit into a fielder's choice.

The Yankees chipped away at Hernandez, who entered the game 3-0 with a 0.38 ERA in three career starts at the new Yankee Stadium, and recorded six singles in the first four innings, including three in a row to open the fourth. But Rodriguez was thrown out at home on Teixeira's single and Hernandez retired Swisher and Ibanez to get out of the inning.

"The thing about Felix is he's not going to make a lot of mistakes," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He's got an outstanding fastball, a very good curveball, a good changeup, good slider. He's going to throw everything at you. So every opportunity you have to score a run, you better take advantage."


The Eduardo Nunez Experiment appears to be over after the Yankees optioned the shortstop turned utilityman to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in order to make room for Eric Chavez, who returned from the seven-day disabled list.

Nunez, who mostly played shortstop as a minor-leaguer, started at five different positions for the Yankees this year (second base, third base, shortstop, left field and designated hitter) but struggled in the field with four errors -- including two Thursday night at third base that led to unearned runs -- and several near misses in left field.

Manager Joe Girardi said Nunez will play six days a week at shortstop and another day at second base at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"We asked Nunez to do some things that you usually ask more of a veteran player to do," Girardi said. "When I look at 'Nuney' and 'Nuney's" future, I don't see 'Nuney' as a utility guy. I see him as an everyday player. So we made this move."

--Girardi said Friday was day two of outfielder Brett Gardner's 10-day break from hitting as he recovers from aggravating a strained muscle in his elbow during a rehab assignment this week. Gardner went on the DL with the elbow injury April 18.

--Mariners manager Eric Wedge said right-handed pitcher Blake Beaven, who left his start against the Tigers on Monday after he was hit on the right elbow by a line drive, will start against the Red Sox Tuesday.

--Mariners catcher Jesus Montero played his first game against the Yankees since the January trade that sent him to Seattle in exchange for pitcher Michael Pineda. While Pineda underwent season-ending right shoulder surgery before ever throwing a regular-season pitch for the Yankees, Montero has settled in as the Mariners' cleanup hitter and is splitting time between catcher and designated hitter. "I was surprised (by the trade), but after that I was happy because I'm here with more opportunity to play," Montero said.

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