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Yankees Tangle With Mariners In First-Half Finale

(Sports Network) - The final of four weekend games between the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners will take place at Safeco Field today.

Yankees' ace CC Sabathia will be on the mound for the finale, and that is typically good news for his squad. Through 18 starts this season, Sabathia is 11-3 with a 3.19 ERA and has 103 strikeouts through 124 innings. He's also won his last three starts, including a stellar performance against Oakland on Tuesday in which he permitted just one earned run through 7 2/3 innings.

Sabathia is 1-0 against Seattle this season and 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA lifetime against the Mariners.

Ryan Rowland-Smith is the scheduled starter for the Mariners, and his season has been an ongoing nightmare. The lefty is 1-8 with a 5.74 ERA and hopes to finish on a positive note in his last start before the All-Star break.

Rowland-Smith allowed three earned runs on seven hits through seven innings against Kansas City on Tuesday en route to defeat, and he has allowed 96 hits through 80 innings on the year. The Seattle lefty, who has more walks than strikeouts for the season, owns a 4.70 lifetime ERA against the Yankees.

The Mariners halted New York's seven-game winning streak last night, as Jose Lopez's grand slam in the eighth inning backed a strong start from Felix Hernandez as the Seattle earned a 4-1 win.

Hernandez (7-5) went the distance for the fourth time this season and was charged with 10 hits and a run with two walks and nine strikeouts for the Mariners, who had dropped five straight and eight of nine coming in.

"There was no chance they were going to take me out of that game," Hernandez said. "The first three innings [the Yankees] were having good at-bats against me. They went foul, foul, foul, foul and were taking a lot of pitches and my pitch count was up. After that I settled down and it was strike one, strike one. That was the adjustment...get ahead of the hitters."

Hernandez has 11 complete games in his career and went the distance for the third straight time against the Yankees, the first pitcher to do so since Jaime Navarro in 1990-91.

Justin Smoak, whom Seattle acquired in the trade on Friday that saw Cliff Lee head to Texas, went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in his Mariners debut. New teammate Ichiro Suzuki was able to extend his hitting streak to 12 games, however.

Nick Swisher's home run accounted for the lone offense for the Yankees. Reliever Joba Chamberlain (1-4) was tagged with the loss after blowing a 1-0 led in the eighth.

"It comes down to command," Chamberlain said. "The stuff is there. There wasn't a lot of wiggle room [Saturday]. They hit one ball hard when it comes down to it."

Yankees starter Javier Vazquez carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning and surrendered just three hits and two walks with seven strikeouts over seven shutout innings.

New York's Mark Teixeira went 2-for-4 and has now reached base safely in 31 straight games.

The loss shortened the Yankees' lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East to two games after the Rays defeated Cleveland on Saturday.

Seattle took two of three matchups at Yankee Stadium from June 29-July 1 and has now won six of the past 10 meetings between the clubs.