The Mariners were red hot entering their series against the Yankees, and after a loss Tuesday night, they have still won eight of their last 10 games, including four via shutout.
Masahiro Tanaka may have something to say about that.
Tanaka is tops in the American League with a 2.02 ERA, and he is riding a three-game winning streak heading into Wednesday's middle contest of a three-game set.
The right-hander, who is seeking his 10th victory, has 92 strikeouts to go with just 13 walks, and he's yet to allow more than three earned runs in a game.
The Mariners will counter with 6-foot-10 righty Chris Young, who is 6-0 with a 2.84 ERA in nine career starts at Safeco Field. He beat the Yankees on April 29, allowing one earned run in 5 2/3 innings.
Young will face a Yankees offense that is struggling of late. The Yankees had lost seven of 10 games prior to the series in Seattle, scoring just 28 runs in the process. They rank 13th in the AL in runs scored.
Still, manager Joe Girardi has faith in his hitters.
"I think you make evaluations every day. I think that's a fair thing to do," he said. "But as I told you, I'm an optimist and I believe in these guys. I haven't forgotten how tough the game is, and how difficult it is when you walk into that little batter's box, and how quickly you have to make a decision to square up a ball or not swing. I'll continue to believe in them. I will."
The Yankees are 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Blue Jays in the AL East.
"You just keep battling," Derek Jeter said. "That's all you can do is keep battling. It's not the first time that I've struggled, not the first time that the team struggled. You've just got to keep battling through it. If it was easy, no one would ever struggle."
The Mariners, meanwhile, are not far behind the Angels and A's in the AL West, as they look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001.
Yankees: Jeter's farewell tour continues in Seattle
On May 29, 1995, a 20-year-old Jeter made his Major League debut at the Kingdome. He went 0-for-5 -- but he still has fond memories of that day.
"After the game, my dad was in town and we tried to get something to eat, and everything was closed," Jeter recalled on Tuesday. "We ended up walking into a McDonald's after the game. He's here again today, both my parents, so maybe we'll go to McDonald's after the game."
Jeter, who is batting .259 this season, has had success at Safeco Field in his career.
"It's always fun to come to Seattle," he said. "This is where I played my first game, so every time I come here, that's the memory that comes to mind first. This is where it all began. I know it's been quite some time, but I've always enjoyed coming here to Seattle."
The Mariners held a tribute to Jeter before Tuesday's game, giving him -- among other things -- a stadium seat from the Kingdome.
Mariners: Smoak sidelined again
Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak was out of the lineup Tuesday while dealing with a sore left quad that began bothering him about a week and a half ago.
"I was thinking it was going to go away but it never really did," Smoak said. "That's when we knew we should probably back off a little bit."
Manager Lloyd McClendon said before Tuesday's game that Smoak is "70-75" percent healthy and labeled him day to day. When asked if Smoak could land on the disabled list, McClendon was non-committal.
"We'll see what happens," he said.
Smoak did some light running and took batting practice Tuesday. He said the quad was feeling better after he had served primarily as a late-inning defensive replacement on Seattle's recent 6-1 road trip.
Prior to the injury, Smoak was slumping badly, posting just a .180/.264/.320 slash line since May 1. His batting average is .208, though he does have seven home runs and 29 RBIs to go along with 12 doubles.
• Mariners starters rank third in the AL in ERA.
• Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 14 games, the longest by a Yankee since Jeter's 19-game streak from Sept. 4-25, 2012.
Aaron Leibowitz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.