Yankees' CC Sabathia pitches to the Seattle Mariners during the...

Yankees' CC Sabathia pitches to the Seattle Mariners during the fourth inning, Sunday. (July 11, 2010) Credit: AP

SEATTLE - The Yankees dispersed to all parts of the country Sunday afternoon.

Seven headed for Anaheim, Calif., and the All-Star Game, some headed back to New York and others caught flights to their home towns.

But before they departed after an 8-2 win over the Mariners, an almost unanimous feeling permeated the clubhouse - that despite their 56-32 record, the Yankees haven't hit their stride, especially on offense.

"We have a lot of room for improvement," said Derek Jeter, who had a two-run double. "We've been inconsistent at times. There's only been a few players that have been consistent. The main consistency has been our pitching."

The latest rotation star was CC Sabathia, who won for the eighth straight start to finish the first half 12-3 with a 3.09 ERA. He limited the Mariners to one run, six hits and one walk in seven innings. Sabathia has a 1.81 ERA in those eight starts.

"It feels good," he said of his streak. "I did have a tough May and I was struggling with my mechanics and I felt like I was getting behind everybody. To be able to turn it around and finish the first half strong feels good."

That's exactly what the Yankees did, going 6-1 on their West Coast trip. The Yankees allowed only 12 runs in the seven games, with their starting pitchers giving up only seven runs in 502/3 innings for a 1.24 ERA.

They head to the All-Star break with the best record in baseball, a two-game lead over the Rays and a five-game advantage over the Red Sox. The Yankees return from the break with a three-game series against the Rays that begins Friday at the Stadium.

"It's extremely gratifying," manager Joe Girardi said of going 6-1. "The guys didn't start their break early. They just pushed and pushed and pushed, and for that I'm extremely proud of them."

The Yankees' bats, wildly inconsistent much of the last two weeks, punished Mariners starter Ryan Rowland-Smith (1-9), knocking him out after four innings. Rowland-Smith wasn't helped by his teammates' two first-inning errors (on the other hand, outfielders Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez also made outstanding running catches in his four innings), but he threw three wild pitches himself. He allowed six runs (four earned) and six hits.

The Yankees had 11 hits, four by Mark Teixeira. He singled in a two-run first inning, with the runs scoring on Robinson Cano's sacrifice fly and Jorge Posada's two-out single. Teixeira doubled in the third - on a ball leftfielder Michael Saunders lost in the sun - and scored on a wild pitch. He also had an RBI double and Marcus Thames hit a two-run homer.

Teixeira echoed the general feeling in the clubhouse that the offense hasn't pulled its fair share. "We have so much talent out there that it's hard to keep us down,'' he said, "but at the same time, we know we haven't lived up to our expectations as a whole. That's our goal for the second half as an offensive group: to step it up a little bit."

After the game, Girardi, who will see seven of his players in Anaheim - of the Yankees' eight All-Stars, only Mariano Rivera isn't making the trip - held a brief team meeting.

"I told all the guys, enjoy the break," he said. "You've earned it; you've worked extremely hard. Be ready to go on Friday."

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