SEATTLE -- Brett Gardner misplayed a ball in the fourth inning Friday night, a surprise given his status as a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder.
But as surprises went at Safeco Field, it paled when compared to this one:
Jeremy Bonderman mostly pitched shutdown ball for six innings of a 4-1 Mariners victory in front of 26,248 that snapped the Yankees' winning streak at four games.
Bonderman, who before this season hadn't appeared in the majors since 2010 with the Tigers, allowed one run and three hits in picking up his first victory since Sept. 8 of that season.
Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 2.84 ERA) lost back-to-back starts for the second time this season, allowing four runs -- all in the fourth inning -- and eight hits in 61/3 innings.
The righthander had things well in hand until the fourth, when Gardner said he "froze" on Michael Morse's two-out fly ball to straightaway center that went for a ground-rule double. A barrage of hits followed as the Mariners turned a 1-0 deficit into a 4-1 lead. Afterward, Gardner all but took responsibility for the defeat.
"I expect myself to catch every ball that I've got a chance to get to, and I had a chance to catch that ball and I didn't catch it," he said. "I was upset about it. Especially with what happened after that. There's two outs and they scored two runs right after that, so it was definitely frustrating."
Kuroda was frustrated, too, but not with Gardner. He pinpointed one of his best pitches suddenly and inexplicably abandoning him in the fourth. "I was not able to locate my slider that inning," Kuroda said.
After their seventh straight hit capped an eight-hit third inning Thursday night, the Yankees went 1-for-20 against reliever Blake Beavan to conclude that game, then were 3-for-29 against Bonderman, Yoervis Medina, Charlie Furbush and Tom Wilhelmsen. That extended their slide to 4-for-49 before Kevin Youkilis doubled with two outs in the ninth. After his bid for a two-run homer went foul, Vernon Wells lined to third to end it.
"Early on we and it kind of gave him a little bit of a breather and he got on a roll," Joe Girardi said of Bonderman.
The night got off to a promising start for the Yankees (35-26) against Bonderman, as one would expect. Bonderman, who underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in April 2012, was coming off a start June 2 in Minnesota in which he allowed seven runs and nine hits in a 10-0 loss. The start was Bonderman's first since Oct. 1, 2010, a span of 975 days. That final season with Detroit, Bonderman went 8-10 with a 5.53 ERA.
Gardner doubled on the third pitch of the game, giving him at least one hit in 13 of his last 15 games, and Robinson Cano walked on four pitches. Mark Teixeira's forceout put runners at the corners for Travis Hafner, who had two hits the night before. Hafner's groundout to deep second gave Kuroda a 1-0 lead.
The Yankees forced Bonderman to throw 29 pitches in the second -- leaving him at 51 through two -- but did not score, failing to capitalize after putting runners on first and second with none out. When Reid Brignac fouled off a bunt attempt and then bunted at and missed the next pitch, Wells was caught off second base and was thrown out as he tried to get to third. Brignac then struck out looking and Chris Stewart flied out.
"You expect our guys to do it," Girardi said of getting the bunt down. "But they're not going to be perfect. We expect them to get the job done but sometimes it's part of the game."
In the second, third and fourth, Kuroda retired the first two batters before giving up a double, and the final time, it cost him.
Morse's ground-rule double was a hard-hit shot that Gardner did not get a good read on. He froze in place, as he put it, then saw the ball sail over his head.
Kuroda then walked Nick Franklin and Kelly Shoppach to load the bases. No. 9 hitter Brendan Ryan was 0-for-11 with three strikeouts against Kuroda but singled to right to give the Mariners a 2-1 lead.
On an 0-and-2 pitch, Endy Chavez reached on an infield single, a ball that ricocheted off second base and loaded the bases. On the next pitch, former Met Jason Bay lined a two-run single to left, making it 4-1.
"It seems like after the double, he lost the feel for all of his pitches," Stewart said of Kuroda in the fourth. "He started yanking his slider and didn't really know where his fastball was going to go. He just wasn't able to find it . . . Just one of those things where he had a bad inning and unfortunately we didn't score enough runs to pick him up."