Pettitte strikes out nine as Yankees dominate listless Mariners

NEW YORK (AP) -- Music boomed in the clubhouse -- a sound almost never heard during the Joe Torre era. The New York Yankees may be in last place, but they're starting to play better.

Andy Pettitte struck out nine to win for the first time in more than a month, Shelley Duncan hit a go-ahead, three-run homer and the Yankees roughed up Erik Bedard and the woeful Mariners during an eight-run fifth inning in a 13-2 laugher Friday night.

"That gives us a feeling of what we're capable of doing, what we need to do and that we can do it," Duncan said. "That confidence, I think it's really building."

Robinson Cano and Hideki Matsui added two-run hits against Bedard (3-3), who gave up a career-high nine runs and lost a series opener at Yankee Stadium for the second time in three weeks.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi served a one-game suspension as the result of an argument the previous night when he kicked his hat and inadvertently sent dirt onto an umpire. Bench coach Rob Thomson finally got a win after leading the Yankees to an 0-2 record when Girardi was sick in the season's first week.

"Whenever you stick up for your players and show them that you've got their back and respect them and you're going to fight for them, then they feel good about it," Thomson said.

New York (23-25) is 3-1 since Alex Rodriguez returned from the disabled list and has won three straight games in which opponents started left-handers. The Yankees began the year 3-9 in games started by opposing southpaws.

"It feels like old times. It feels like we're starting to come around," Thomson said. "Hopefully, this thing keeps going and we can kind of ride this wave for a while."

Seattle, a team with high expectations coming into the season, has shown consistently low energy and lost 17 of its past 22 games. Mariners manager John McLaren was ejected by plate umpire Mike DiMuro in the second inning for arguing after Ichiro Suzuki took a called third strike for the second time.

"We're struggling in all aspects of our game. It's a difficult time and it's ugly," McLaren said. "It's extremely ugly, and it's very frustrating. And if you don't feel the hurt, you're not a competitor."

Seattle is an AL-worst 18-31, and no team that fell more than 16 games under .500 has ever reached the postseason.

"Playing on this team and seeing what's happening around me, I feel that something is beginning to fall apart," Suzuki said through a translator. "But, if I was not in the situation and I was objectively watching what had happened to this team in the past week, I would probably be drinking a lot of beers and brewing it."

What kind of beer?

"Usually I enjoy Japanese beer, but given the situation, if I was objectively watching the game, I wouldn't care if it was Japanese beer, American beer or beer from Papua New Guinea," he said.

New York, which swept three games from Seattle from May 2-4, has outscored the Mariners 32-6 in going 4-0 against Seattle this season. Coming off two wins against Baltimore, the Yankees have stretched a winning streak to three for the fourth time this season -- New York has not won four in a row.

Pettitte (4-5) had gone 0-4 in his five starts -- all New York losses -- since April 20, and he gave up multiple runs in either the fourth or fifth innings in each of them. In this one, he allowed two runs and eight hits in six innings, yielding a run-scoring single to Yuniesky Betancourt in the second and an RBI double to Adrian Beltre in the third. His strikeout total was his highest since fanning 10 on Aug. 21, 2006, for Houston at Cincinnati.

"I'm starting off the game and I feel like my stuff is just so good, it's kind of still mind-boggling to me why it's taking me so many pitches to get through six innings," Pettitte said. "I don't want to strike out five guys through two innings. I want to get some ground balls and have 20 pitches through two innings. Right now, everything I throw up there, it seems like if I don't strike them out, it's a broken-bat single or they're kind of blooping one in somewhere."

Game notes
Bedard gave up eight runs for Baltimore on April 18, 2005, against Detroit and on May 22, 2006, at Seattle. ... Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez was scratched from his scheduled start Saturday because of soreness in his right leg. Carlos Silva will take Hernandez's turn and Jarrod Washburn will replace Silva on Sunday, each moving up a day. Hernandez was rescheduled for Monday's game at home against Boston. ... The record for most games under .500 by a team that made the playoffs is 16, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, set by the 1914 Boston Braves (12-28). ... Derek Jeter went 0-for-2 with a walk and a hit by pitch. He is 0-for-9 since he was hit on the wrist by Baltimore's Daniel Cabrera on Tuesday. ... Matsui threw out Jose Vidro, who tried to tag up and score on a fly to left in the eighth. ... Richie Sexson has 46 strikeouts in 145 ABs this year.