Benching Alex Rodriguez certainly didn’t turn out to be the answer.
The Yankees, who slumped offensively during their recent five-game trip to Detroit and Toronto, returned home Friday night and were colder than the feelings between Hillary and Bernie’s campaigns, flailing and failing in a 7-1 loss to the Mariners at the Stadium.
“We’ve struggled the last few days with runners on. That’s why we’ve lost a few in a row,’’ Joe Girardi said. “When you’re going through it, it’s no fun.”
The Yankees, who totaled seven runs in losing two of three to the Blue Jays and went 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position in the series, have lost three straight in falling to 4-5.
They had six hits and went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position Friday night, stranding 12. In Seattle starter Nathan Karns’ five innings, the numbers were 0-for-8 and eight.
It won’t get any easier this afternoon against Seattle ace Felix Hernandez. He is 9-6 with a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts against the Yankees, including 5-1, 1.38 in eight starts in the Bronx.
“Obviously, we’re facing a tough pitcher, King Felix. He’s pitched well against us here in the past,” said Brett Gardner, who reached base four times and homered in the first inning to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. “But it’s 2016 and we’re looking forward to the challenge and I think we’ll have a good day tomorrow.”
The pitching did not distinguish itself, either, as the Mariners scored in each of the final six innings. Luis Severino (0-2, 5.91) struggled for the second straight start, allowing four runs and eight hits in 5 2⁄3 innings. Severino, who was helped by three double plays, allowed three runs and a career-worst 10 hits in five innings in his previous start April 8 in Detroit.
Said Girardi: “It’s two starts. It’s not like he’s being pounded.”
Chris Iannetta, who went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, hit a two-run homer in the fifth to give the Mariners a 3-1 lead. Franklin Gutierrez added two RBIs.
Gardner, coming off a 3-for-16 trip, gave Severino the lead in the first, hammering a belt-high 92-mph fastball off the facing of the second deck in right for his first homer of the season.
Robinson Cano’s RBI single in the fourth tied it at 1, an inning that could have been worse if not for Kyle Seager’s line-drive double play.
The Yankees threatened to retake the lead in the bottom half, putting runners on second and third with none out, but failed to score.
After a walk to Dustin Ackley — who served as the DH with Rodriguez getting the night off — Starlin Castro, 2-for-17 on the recent trip, pulled one over the third-base bag for a long single that put runners at the corners. A wild pitch moved Castro to second, but Didi Gregorius, Chase Headley and Jacoby Ellsbury struck out to strand the two runners. The latter two took called third strikes, pitches Girardi felt were “borderline.”
After a double by Gregorius and two walks loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, former Yankees lefthander Vidal Nuño was called on to face Teixeira, who grounded to short for the third out.
All part of a night in which Teixeira said, “We just didn’t get the job done.”
He added: “They needed to get a few big outs and they did. We had good at-bats, we just didn’t get the big hit. If you see guys swinging at pitches in the dirt, not being patient, then that’s a bad approach. I thought our approach was good today. But sometimes you’re not going to get that big hit.”