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Yanks bounce back, trounce M's behind Wang's outing

SEATTLE (AP) -- Chien-Ming Wang has become a "happy surprise"
in 16 months with the New York Yankees.

Wang allowed seven hits in seven innings for his 15th victory,
and Robinson Cano drove in three runs in Yankees' 9-2 win over the
Seattle Mariners on Wednesday night.

Wang has lost just once in nine starts since July 8 and tied
Justin Verlander and Johan Santana for the second in the majors in
wins -- one behind Roy Halladay.

"No, I don't think we could have expected this," manager Joe
Torre said. "You love those happy surprises."

Johnny Damon, Jorge Posada and Jason Giambi each added two RBI
to help the Yankees win for the sixth time in seven games -- all on
the road. New York maintained its 6½-game lead over Boston in the
AL East.

Wang (15-5) used more sinkers than in recent starts to quell any
worries about him allowing 27 hits and eight walks in his previous
16 1/3 innings, spanning three outings. He credited mechanical
improvements, such as keeping his pitching shoulder higher.

Not bad for a 26-year-old with 12 games of experience at
Triple-A before joining the Yankees last season.

"We expected him to maybe go 13-10 and eat up innings," Damon
said. "He's definitely stepped to the front."

Torre marveled at Wang's rapid rise to the top of the Yankees'
pitching staff. He is 23-10 since making his major league debut on
April 30, 2005, and has made the Yankees all but forget injured or
failed starters Carl Pavano, Shawn Chacon and Sidney Ponson.

"To have this kid come in and do this for us for the last year
and a half, that's certainly great for us," Torre said.

The Mariners lost for the 12th time in 13 games, looking much
more like the team that finished an 0-11 road trip on Sunday than
the one that "upset" the Yankees on Tuesday night.

Felix Hernandez (10-12) lost his third straight start by
allowing nine hits and seven runs in 3 2/3 innings, his shortest
outing of the season. Four walks gave New York 13 base runners and
only 11 outs against Hernandez, who impressed the Yankees last
August by allowing just four hits in eight innings of a 2-0 loss to
Randy Johnson.

This time, the Yankees jumped on the 20-year-old's vaunted hard
stuff.

"Every game I try to establish my fastball," Hernandez said.
"It was just missing the zone by a little today."

Cano staked Wang to a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a
two-hop single that scored Bobby Abreu and Giambi. Hernandez threw
31 pitches in that first frame, after getting two quick outs.

"That's what we do, wear out starting pitchers so then they
have to throw us strikes," Damon said.

The Yankees blew open the game with a five-run fourth. The
second of three Nick Green singles loaded the bases. Damon then
whacked Hernandez's high-and-outside, 97 mph fastball for a single
that drove in Cano and Cabrera to make it 4-0. Jeter followed with
a fielder's choice and Abreu walked to reload the bases.

Giambi, the designated hitter because of a sore hamstring,
bounced a double over first base to score Damon and Jeter. Abreu
scored on Posada's single.

Wang lost his shutout in the seventh. Third baseman Green --
starting for Alex Rodriguez, who was out with a throat infection --
threw Richie Sexson's infield single away for an error. Sexson
eventually scored on Jose Lopez's infield single on which Cano's
throw to first appeared beat Lopez.

Yuniesky Betancourt's bloop single drove in Lopez to make it
7-2.

Posada had a sacrifice fly and Cano an RBI double off Joel
Pineiro in the eighth to close the scoring.

Game notes
Rodriguez was at the team hotel taking antibiotics. ...
Damon is now 10-for-16 (.625) with 21 RBI with the bases loaded
this season. ... Seattle 3B Adrian Beltre left the game in the
sixth inning with a sore neck -- the result of his slide into second
base Tuesday night that broke up and double play and sparked a
tying rally. ... Lopez's RBI was his first in 20 games and 83
at-bats this month.