With the game tied at four in the top of the eighth inning and Jeff Nelson on the mound for the Yankees, the Mariners’ Doug Strange doubled home Ken Griffey Jr. and Mark Whiten to give Seattle a 6-4 lead. New York added a run in the bottom half, but couldn’t come all the way back, losing the opening game of the series 6-5.
“It was a battle out there tonight,” said Nelson. “I think we let one slip away.” (Via NY Times)
The Yankees couldn’t capitalize with leads of 3-0 and 4-3. They were ahead 3-1 in the fourth, but Gerald Williams lost a line drive in the lights with the bases loaded, allowing Seattle to tie the game at three.
“We’re giving too much away,” Joe Torre said. “We’re just not there yet. We have to get back to the way we were playing. We’re not playing with much confidence. We just have to get back to it.” (Via NY Times)
The Yankees have now gone 14-17 in their last 31 games. The Orioles swept a doubleheader this afternoon against Oakland, and now stand 5.5 games behind the Yankees. “My thoughts have to be, if you start worrying about what’s behind you, you’re not looking at what you’re doing,” Torre said. (Via NY Times)
Jimmy Key started for the Yankees tonight and allowed three runs while walking six over five innings. Opposing him was former Yankee Sterling Hitchcock, who tossed seven-and-one-third innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. Torre turned to Bob Wickman, Dale Polley and Nelson to finish the game.
Nelson had felt good entering the game, but Strange was able to get to him for the decisive blow of the game. “I felt good about my slider,” said Nelson. “The ball found a gap.” (Via NY Times)