Thanks to Phil Hughes, the Yankees could get away with only one inning of offense.
What an inning it was.
Robinson Cano hit a three-run homer and Mark Teixeira followed with a solo shot as part of New York's six-run third inning Thursday night, and Hughes took a shutout into the eighth for the Yankees in a 6-1 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Cano and Teixeira were the catalysts for New York's big third inning that proved to be the Yankees only offense as they started a 10-game West Coast trip with a win. New York matched its season high for runs scored in an inning, tagging Seattle starter Aaron Harang (2-6) for eight hits in the third before being shut down the rest of the night.
"I don't care when we score six runs. If you get six runs a night, you're probably going to win a lot of games," New York manager Joe Girardi said.
Hughes (3-4) won for the first time in nearly a month and continued a run of success pitching in Seattle. Hughes improved to 4-0 in his career at Safeco Field, striking out seven before leaving after facing one batter in the eighth inning.
The last time Hughes saw the Mariners, he didn't make it out of the first inning. Hughes lasted just two outs May 15, giving up seven earned runs and six hits at Yankee Stadium. On Thursday, the Mariners didn't get a runner to third base until the sixth inning when Brendan Ryan walked and reached third on Kyle Seager's one-out single — the third hit allowed by Hughes. Ryan was left at third after Hughes got pop outs from Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales.
Hughes retired the first eight batters before Ryan's two-out single in the third. He then set down seven of the next eight before Ryan walked to open the sixth. Seattle avoided the shutout thanks to Seager's RBI double in the eighth. The run was unearned because of an error earlier in the inning.
Hughes lasted just 4 1-3 innings and gave up five earned runs in his last start against Boston.
"You talk about bounce back outings and not having a snowball effect on you," Hughes said. "So it's nice to pitch well here."
The Yankees batted around in the third inning, sending 11 batters to the plate and knocking out Harang after 2 1-3 innings. Jayson Nix and Brett Gardner sandwiched singles around Austin Romine's strikeout. Cano then lined a high fastball into the right field seats for his 15th homer and before Harang could recover, Teixeira hit his third homer to right-center to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead. It was New York's first back-to-back homers since Cano and Vernon Wells on May 12 in Kansas City.
The battering of Harang didn't stop. Travis Hafner singled and Kevin Youkilis doubled before Wells looped an RBI single. Ichiro Suzuki followed with a line drive over shortstop Brendan Ryan to score another run and Harang's miserable night was done.
"We were just trying to take advantage. That was a great inning. The whole lineup hit in that inning and that's what you want. You want to take advantage when you've got runners in scoring position," Cano said. "We got shut out after that but at least we scored early.
The bright spot for Seattle was reliever Blake Beavan, who was called up from Triple-A Tacoma on Thursday. Beavan, who was demoted to the minors on May 1, retired 14 straight batters after taking over for Harang, striking out four. Beavan's streak was snapped when Hafner led off the eighth with a single, but that was the only hit allowed in 6 2-3 innings.
"You're going to have those innings. Obviously I made the mistake at the wrong time with Cano with the runners on," Harang said. "It seemed like everything started to spiral out of control."