NEW YORK — As expected, Robinson Cano’s return to Yankee Stadium garnered plenty of boos and catcalls from angry fans as bitter as the cold and miserable weather Tuesday night. But there were few of those fans left to boo him, or the Mariners, following Seattle’s 6-3 victory over the Yankees.
The announced game-time temperature of 46 degrees was the coldest the Mariners (11-14) have played in in the Bronx since a 49-degree day in 1992. With winds whipping around to make it colder, and occasional showers and a constant light mist in the air, it felt a lot like the past homestand at Safeco Field, but without a roof.
“They were really bad,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said of the conditions. “It was very cold and very wet. I’m not sure how windy it was up there (in the press box), but it was very windy on the field.”
The frigid weather didn’t stop the smaller than announced crowd of 37,484 from voicing its displeasure with Cano each time he stepped to the plate or made a play in the field.
“I’m not surprised,” Cano said. “You are going get some cheers and boos. That’s not something I can control. It wasn’t a distraction.”
While Cano didn’t have a big game to completely silence his detractors, he did contribute to the victory.
He drove in the Mariners’ first run, sparking a four-run fifth inning.
With the bases loaded, one out and the Mariners trailing 2-0, Cano hit a ground ball off Yankee starter CC Sabathia to first baseman Mark Teixeira to score Mike Zunino. From there, Corey Hart doubled to left-center to score two runs and Justin Smoak added a run-scoring single.
“We had good at-bats,” McClendon said of his team’s 15 hits. “I thought our at-bats were good all night. We were able to run deep counts and get his pitch count up.”
The Mariners banged out nine hits against Sabathia, who lasted just five innings and was charged with four earned runs. It tied Sabathia’s shortest start against the Mariners in his career. Coming into Monday night, Sabathia was 12-4 with a 2.48 ERA in 22 career starts against Seattle, which included eight victories in his past nine starts.
With Sabathia out, the Mariners tacked on some much-needed insurance runs in the seventh inning against the Yankees bullpen. Cano reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on Dustin Ackley’s pinch-hit single to left field to make it 5-2.
“That was a big hit for us because it looked like we weren’t going to add on tonight, and usually that means trouble,” McClendon said. “Ack came out and got that pinch hit for us, and we added on again.”
Ackley later scored on Zunino’s fourth hit of the night — a little run-scoring bloop single to right. Zunino’s four hits were a career high. Not bad for a guy who was battling the flu.
“I didn’t try to do too much,” Zunino said. “Sometimes when you aren’t feeling 100 percent you don’t try to do that and that’s a key to this game. I just came out and told Skip I was ready to go. Luckily I was able to barrel some balls up, and not barrel some balls up and still find holes.”
Mariners starter Chris Young picked up the victory. It was his first triumph since Sept. 2, 2012 after missing much of the past two seasons with injuries. Young pitched 5 2 / 3 innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts. He wouldn’t make much of the milestone.
“I’m happy the team won, it’s a team win,” he said. “We got down early and the guys picked me up and got the runs back. It’s just a great team win.”
So no emotion about getting that win?
“It’s a game where we are judged on our results, but wins and losses are so far beyond a pitcher’s control,” he said. “I’ve learned not to get caught up in the emotion of wins and losses. You pitch great and you lose. You pitch poorly and you win. I’m just happy the team won.”
The Yankees jumped to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Teixeira crushed a 1-1 fastball from Young into the right-field seats for a solo homer. The Yankees added a run in third on Zunino’s throwing error on a double steal. But Young, a fly ball pitcher, benefited from the cold weather and swirling winds, never running into serious trouble after the double steal.
“He did a terrific job and it was nice getting him his first win,” McClendon said.
It was Cano’s first victory as a Mariner at Yankee Stadium. If the booing got to him, he wouldn’t let on about it afterward.
“You are always going to hear more of the boos than the cheers,” he said. “That’s not something I can control. It really wasn’t a distraction. I really had fun. It doesn’t bother me at all.”