NEW YORK — Sloppy defense by the Seattle Mariners made it an easy afternoon for Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees.
Tanaka finally flourished under the sun, Starlin Castro had four hits and New York took advantage of a record five errors by Seattle in the first inning on the way to a 10-1 victory Sunday.
“I think that’s the first time I’ve seen that,” Castro said.
Mariners shortstop Jean Segura committed three early miscues — two on one play. Third baseman Kyle Seager and left fielder Ben Gamel also botched balls as the Yankees scored six runs, one earned, in the first inning against starter Andrew Albers (2-1).
“It was obviously the worst inning we’ve had all year,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Embarrassing, but there’s nothing we can do about it now. Forget about it, move on.”
The fielding gaffes were a gift for Tanaka (10-10), who entered 0-6 with an 11.81 ERA in seven starts during the day this season. He struck out 10 and walked one in his 100th major league start. The right-hander has won both outings since a brief stint on the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation, pitching seven innings each time.
New York took two of three in the series and moved within 2½ games of first-place Boston in the AL East after Baltimore completed a three-game sweep at Fenway Park with a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox.
Tanaka, who gave up six hits, improved to 6-0 in seven career starts against the Mariners. He is 9-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 17 games at night this year.
Seattle’s five errors were the most in an inning in club history. The previous major league team to make five errors in one inning was the 1977 Chicago Cubs, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Elias also said the last shortstop to make three errors in a game was Castro, with the Chicago Cubs on April 25, 2011.
“It happens,” Segura said. “It happened crazy today, but it happens.”
The Mariners played clean defense the rest of the day but still matched the season high for errors by a big league team in one game this year. Boston made five errors Friday against Baltimore, and Milwaukee did it July 7 at Yankee Stadium.
Seattle’s franchise record is seven errors against the Brewers on June 25, 1978, a game the Mariners won.
Aided by Aaron Hicks’ error in left field, the Mariners scored in the first on Nelson Cruz’s run-scoring double. With two runners in scoring position, Tanaka struck out Seager and retired Mitch Haniger to end the inning.
“I think it could have been worse,” Tanaka said through a translator. “I was just able to limit the damage.”
In the bottom half, a string of Seattle miscues let the Yankees keep racing around the bases.
Gamel began the messy sequence when he overcharged the ball on Gary Sanchez’s RBI single, allowing the All-Star catcher to reach second.
After a walk to Aaron Judge, the Yankees loaded the bases when Segura was charged with his first error after failing to catch Didi Gregorius’ popup as three players converged in shallow left-center.
Segura said he wasn’t sure why he was given that error because center fielder Guillermo Heredia originally called for the ball.
Seager followed that with his own error, fumbling Chase Headley’s grounder as New York took a 2-1 lead.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run double, and Segura made two more errors on the play. First, when he mishandled Gamel’s throw, allowing Headley to score, and then when his errant throw to the plate skipped past catcher Mike Zunino, which sent Ellsbury to third.
“Yeah, that’s not quite the way you want to make your debut at Yankee Stadium,” said Albers, charged with eight runs — three earned — and 11 hits in five-plus innings.
Seattle made four errors last Monday at Atlanta and still won, a game Albers also started.
Ronald Torreyes had three of New York’s 15 hits. Pinch-hitter Greg Bird added a two-run single in the seventh.
Bird was rested against the lefty starter but will be New York’s regular first baseman going forward, manager Joe Girardi said. Bird was activated Saturday after being on the disabled list since May 1.
Girardi was ejected in the third by second base umpire Mike Everitt after arguing that Segura ran out of the basepath and interfered with Headley’s throw from first.
Mariners: 2B Robinson Cano (left hamstring) returned to the starting lineup after appearing as a pinch hitter the previous two days. The former Yankees star went 1 for 3 but was removed because he wasn’t running too well, Servais said.
Yankees: Castro was 4 for 4 and finished 6 for 12 during the weekend series after spending a month on the DL due to a right hamstring strain.
Mariners LHP Marco Gonzales (0-1, 6.23 ERA) starts at Baltimore on Monday in the opener of a three-game series, Seattle’s last stop during its 14-day, 12-game trip.