SEATTLE — Jeremy Bonderman spent the final three innings in the back of the Seattle Mariners clubhouse going through his normal treatment routine.
As special as Friday night was for Bonderman, he tried to keep it like any other outing. This one happened to be his first victory in nearly three years.
“Getting back out on the field and feeling like you can compete and hold your own feels really good,” Bonderman said.
Brendan Ryan and Jason Bay both hit two-out, two-run singles in Seattle’s four-run fourth inning, Bonderman pitched six sharp innings to win for the first time since 2010, and the Mariners beat the New York Yankees 4-1.
All of Seattle’s offense came in one stretch of the fourth inning when six straight batters reached base, capped by the clutch hits from Ryan and Bay off Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda. Seattle entered the night hitting .221 with runners in scoring position, but capitalized on the few chances they got against Kuroda.
The surprise was Bonderman’s effort, winning for the first time since Sept. 8, 2010, while still pitching for Detroit. He struggled to get through the first two innings, but shut down the Yankees from there.
It was a special moment for Bonderman, after enduring right elbow reconstruction in April 2012 and various shoulder problems that have interrupted his career at times. But Bonderman wasn’t thrown in the showers and doused with drinks to celebrate. Handshakes and hugs were enough.
“We don’t have a ton of time around him, but you know what he’s gone through to get here and you see the look in his eye and how competitive he is and everything, it’s awesome to see what he did today,” Ryan said. “We’re happy for him and I’m sure he feels like it’s been a long time coming, but hopefully it was all worth it.”
The Yankees have scored in two of 18 innings to open the four-game series in Seattle. New York scored all six runs in the third inning on Thursday night then was shut out after the first on Friday.
Bonderman (1-1) appeared on his way to an early exit, needing 50 pitches to labor through the first two innings. He got out of the first allowing just one run on Travis Hafner’s ground out and was helped in the second by Vernon Wells’ baserunning mistake when he was picked off second after reaching on an error.
From there, Bonderman flashed back to his best days in Detroit. He retired 14 of the final 15 batters he faced with perfect innings in the third, fourth and sixth. The only baserunner Bonderman allowed after the second was Reid Brignac, who reached on a single in the fifth.
Bonderman was done after the sixth inning, giving up just three hits and striking out two. He threw 47 pitches over his final four innings. It was a satisfying rebound after Bonderman gave up three home runs and seven earned runs in his first start for Seattle in Minnesota last Sunday.
Yoervis Medina pitched the seventh and first two outs of the eighth before walking Brett Gardner. Seattle’s Charlie Furbush entered and struck out Robinson Cano looking on a 3-2 pitch. Tom Wilhelmsen gave up just his second hit to a right-handed batter when Kevin Youkilis lined a two-out double in the ninth, but finished off his 15th save.
“It was big for him, it was big for me, for all of us, because that’s a significant step,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said of Wilhelmsen. “Obviously he was relaxed and drove the ball downhill.”
Seattle’s rally against Kuroda (6-5) came with two outs and the bases empty. Michael Morse doubled, but it was the consecutive walks to Nick Franklin and Kelly Shoppach that hurt Kuroda. Ryan hit a liner into right field that fell in front of Ichiro Suzuki to score Morse and Franklin.