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Yankees Take On Mariners In Seattle, Cliff Lee Possibly Involved

(Sports Network) - As the old adage goes, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

In this case for the New York Yankees, it has been reported they are interested in acquiring the services of Seattle Mariners left-hander Cliff Lee, who is scheduled to take the mound tonight against the Bronx Bombers in the second installment of a four-game series at Safeco Field.

According to the New York Post, the Yankees would send catching prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle as part of a package for Lee. The paper also said the deal could come together this weekend. Lee is in his first season with Seattle after splitting the 2009 campaign with Cleveland and Philadelphia.

Lee has been making a habit of beating the Yankees, and if he's not dealt before the start of tonight's tilt, he'll try to continue that winning trend again this evening.

Lee has won seven of his last nine starts against the Yanks, including the only two wins the Phillies had in last season's World Series. The former Cy Young Award honoree went the distance in a 7-4 win at Yankee Stadium on June 29 and gave up four runs -- three earned -- and eight hits. Lee has tossed at least six innings in nine of his 10 regular-season starts against New York.

Seattle's prized offseason acquisition just had a streak of three consecutive nine-inning stints come to an end Sunday in an 8-1 win at Detroit, as Lee put together eight innings of one-run ball and struck out 11 batters to improve to 4-0 with a 1.29 earned run average in his last four starts. He is 8-3 with a 2.34 ERA in 13 starts this season and 3-1 in six outings in the Emerald City.

The Mariners could use anything right now to try and break out of their slump, as they have lost four straight and seven of their past eight games. In Thursday's 3-1 loss to the defending champion Yankees in the series opener, David Aardsma gave up a go-ahead two-run single to All-Star Alex Rodriguez in the top of the ninth inning and Yankees closer Mariano Rivera tossed a 1-2-3 bottom half to preserve the win. Aardsma is 0-6 on the season.

Jason Vargas started for the Mariners and held New York in check with seven innings of one-run ball and three K's. Ichiro Suzuki ended with a team-high two hits for Seattle, which is last in the AL West Division.

"I thought Vargas was real good when you think about who he was opposing," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "I thought he pitched as well, if not better (than Yankees starter Andy Pettitte)."

Pettitte lasted eight innings and permitted only one run and five hits with nine strikeouts to push his 2010 record to 11-2. Rivera then notched his 20th save of the season and struck out a batter in the ninth.

"I felt good. I have been disappointed with my mechanics out of the windup the last two or three starts," Pettitte said. "I worked hard in between to get some stuff worked on in the bullpen and I was able to carry it into [Thursday]."

Nick Swisher continued to swing a hot bat for the Yankees and collected four hits and a run scored, while Rodriguez was the hero with the big hit in the ninth inning. Curtis Granderson contributed three hits in the win, New York's sixth in a row and seventh in its last eight tries.

The AL East-leading Yanks, who are two games ahead of Tampa Bay in the division standings, will send young fireballer Phil Hughes to the mound Friday night. Hughes is 10-2 in 15 starts this season but has struggled a bit in his last two outings, going 0-1 with an 8.49 earned run average. He had a five- start winning streak cut short on June 29 versus Seattle, as he gave up seven runs -- six earned -- and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 7-4 loss to Lee.

Hughes then took the mound in a 7-6 triumph versus Toronto on Sunday, but did not figure into the decision after surrendering five runs in six frames. The right-hander is 4-1 in six road starts in 2010 and 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA in five career games (two starts) against the Mariners.

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