A red-hot Yankees team that had won 11 of their last 14 games was quieted on Sunday, dropping the final game of a three-game series 2-0 against the Seattle Mariners at Yankee Stadium.
The chance for a sweep and a 12th win in 15 came unraveling in the eighth inning when the Mariners scored both of their runs off the Yankees’ bullpen, punctuated by a Kyle Seager ground-rule double that just eluded the mitt of Aaron Judge out in right field.
It spoiled another strong start by Luis Gil, who continued to be masterful for the Yankees when they need him most. On Sunday in the Bronx, he went five scoreless innings while allowing just two hits, two walks, and striking out eight Mariners.
The 23-year-old right-hander has been perfect over the first two starts of his major-league career, not allowing a single run over 11 innings pitched while allowing just six hits to go with 14 strikeouts. It’s just the second time in Yankees franchise history that a pitcher began his MLB career with two straight scoreless starts, joining Slow Joe Doyle from 1906.
While the Yankees were sending some rockets off Mariners starter Yusei Kikuchi, they weren’t able to give Gil a lead to work with. Nor could they put relievers Wandy Peralta or Stephen Ridings in a position to win the game after seven innings. Kikuchi also went five innings with four hits allowed and three walks with six strikeouts.
Ridings continued his brilliant early start to life in the majors as well, striking out the side in a scoreless seventh inning of work. The 25-year-old Long Island native has struck out half of the 12 batters he’s faced so far in his career.
The good vibes surrounding the bullpen ended in the eighth inning when Luetge was touched up for the first run of the day.
After Abraham Toro reached on a fielding error by Rougned Odor and Mitch Haniger walked, Seager ripped a ground-rule double down the right-field line to put Seattle on the board and into the lead.
Luetge would try to limit the damage, getting Ty France and Jarred Kelenic to strike out — the latter and his manager, Scott Servais, ejected for arguing balls and strikes after the rookie center fielder and former Mets product was called out. But Cal Raleigh, who was batting just .161, lined an RBI single to double the Mariners’ lead.
It could have been a two-run single, but Seager was thrown out at home by Joey Gallo to end the top of the eighth and keep the Yankees’ deficit at two.
Regardless, the Yankees couldn’t find a way to scratch anything past Mariners reliever Drew Steckenrider, who completed a six-out save to preserve Seattle’s win.