Mariners hitters strike out again in 2-1 loss to Yankees

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SEATTLE — Jason Bay wasn’t about to admit he is on the verge of being pushed beyond his expiry date.

Nor was Bay willing to accept the explanation that this entire Mariners lineup looks like it could use a few weeks in the Caribbean. A depleted-looking offense tossed away another winnable game Sunday, losing 2-1 to the New York Yankees while mustering just a half-dozen hits.

But Bay insists that despite a plethora of part-time players being thrust into full-time roles, the Mariners have little choice but to soldier on and try to change things for the better.

“It may not be what everybody envisioned when we broke camp, but I don’t know any team that is,’’ Bay said of a Mariners squad now 10 games under .500 at 27-37. “It may be more so us than anybody else, but again, nobody feels sorry. That’s a good (Yankees) team over there and we really haven’t done much offensively. I think we’re still kind of searching for some type of consistency and we’ve got guys in and out.

“I think there’s a long list of things we can talk about, but ultimately it’s about wins and losses and the guys that are in there need to find a way to get it done.’’’

Bay didn’t get it done this time in front of a season-high 43,389 at Safeco Field who saw the Yankees take their third game in four tries in the series. With Alex Liddi on third base and only one out in the eighth inning, Bay struck out for the third consecutive time.

Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson went on to fan Nick Franklin to end that frame.

Then, in the ninth, Kyle Seager led off with a single for the second straight day against Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, but his team again did nothing with it.

Kendrys Morales grounded into a double play on a great fielding play by first baseman Mark Teixeira. After Rivera pitched around Raul Ibanez for a walk and allowed a single to Endy Chavez, Michael Saunders flied out to left on the first pitch to end it.

Mariners starter Felix Hernandez tossed seven strong innings of one-run ball to keep his team in it.

“I struggled a little the first two innings,’’ said Hernandez, who gave up a run-scoring single to Brett Gardner that opened the scoring in the second. “I was too quick, I was up and I was wild. But after that, I just tried to calm down and make good pitches.’’

Gardner had three hits off Hernandez. In the seventh, Hernandez was so hyped up trying to retire Gardner for the final out of the inning, he had trouble catching his breath, prompting a visit to the mound by a trainer. He remained in the game and fanned Gardner.

Gardner notched his fourth hit in the ninth, off reliever Oliver Perez. The Yankees also took the lead for good that inning when Ichiro walked, took second on a bunt, then scored on a Chris Stewart single to left against losing pitcher Yoervis Medina.

The Mariners have just 10 hits and two runs the past two games combined.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge and the front office might have to do more to ignite an offense that looks flat and tired.

“We can’t keep watching this,’’ Wedge said. “I mean, we’ve got to be better offensively. When we do create opportunities, we’re not taking advantage of it. And having said that, we’ve got to create more opportunities.

“Because you’re not going to come through every time, but we’ve damned sure got to do better than we’re doing right now. I know we’re beat up, I know we’re tired, I appreciate that … but we’ve got to be better collectively, offensively.’’

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