SEATTLE (AP) With the New York Yankees facing an uphill climb to the playoffs, CC Sabathia picked a good time to return to form.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a two-run homer and Sabathia pitched seven innings to win for the third time in two months, leading the New York Yankees over the Seattle Mariners 5-1 on Tuesday night.
Sabathia (8-10) was 2-6 with a 6.78 ERA in his previous 11 starts. He gave up a run in the third inning on a triple by Leonys Martin and single by Ketel Marte, but allowed just one single and his lone walk over the next four innings.
''I think it's really big, because he's the one guy on in our rotation that has been through this a lot and there's always been a lot put on his shoulders and he could really help,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Tommy Layne pitched a perfect eighth and Dellin Betances worked around a two-out single to finish the four-hitter.
Seattle, which leads the majors with 62 home runs against left-handers, could muster little against Sabathia.
''The story tonight was our offense got just shut down,'' Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ''That's the first time that has happened in a long time. Got to give credit to Sabathia. He threw the ball really well. Textbook, pitching 101, back and forth, changing speeds, on the edges, pitching inside. He was very effective against us tonight, obviously.''
After his recent struggles, Sabathia was pleased with his outing.
''It feels good. We're trying to win every game and to be able to be a part of that, feels good,'' he said. ''We were working the ball in and out really good, commanding both sides of the plate and I think that helped us out with two strikes.''
Taijuan Walker (4-8), recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Tacoma, allowed four runs - three earned - and six hits in 5 2/3 innings, with three walks and five strikeouts.
Ellsbury staked New York to a 3-1 lead in the fifth with his sixth home run, a two-run shot to right-center that followed a leadoff double by Ronald Torreyes.
The Yankees made it 4-1 in the sixth when Mark Teixeira doubled, took third on Brian McCann's groundout and scored on Aaron Judge's sacrifice fly to center.
New York added an unearned run in the ninth when Ellsbury reached on a two-base error by left fielder Guillermo Heredia and scored on Didi Gregorius' ground-rule double.
SABATHIA AT HOME AT SAFECO
Sabathia improved to 9-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 13 career starts at Safeco Field, including 6-0 with a 1.07 ERA in his last seven starts. Overall, he is 13-6 against the Mariners with a 2.64 ERA, his lowest against any AL opponent.
Yankees: RHP Anthony Swarzak, who took the loss after giving up Mike Zunino's go-ahead three-run homer in a 7-5 loss Monday, was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation. RHP Ben Heller, acquired from Cleveland in the trade for Andrew Miller on July 31, was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Heller also was with the Yankees from Aug. 11-13 but did not pitch.
Mariners: RHP Tony Zych was recalled from a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma and activated off the 60-day disable list Tuesday. Zych was 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in 10 early season relief appearances before going on the 15-day DL (right rotator cuff tendinitis) in early May and was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 24. IF/OF Stefen Romero, who was called up Friday, was sent back to Tacoma.
MORE MARINERS MOVES: To make room for Walker, the Mariners optioned RHP Cody Martin to Tacoma. Martin was called up Aug. 16, his third stint with Seattle this season. He made two spot starts without a decision, including Monday's 7-5 victory over the Yankees, when he allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings - with all the runs coming on four home runs.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (10-4, 3.24 ERA) has won three consecutive starts for the first time since July 9-23 of 2015. He is 4-0 in four career starts against the Mariners, including 2-0 with a 1.69 ERA at Safeco Field. Tanaka will be facing former Japanese teammate Hisashi Iwakuma, with whom he played from 2007-11 with Rakuten. The two also met in April, with Tanaka getting the victory and Iwakuma the loss in a 4-3 Yankees' win.
Mariners: In a season of injuries, trades and roster shuffling, RHP Iwakuma (14-8, 3.78) has been the most consistent member of the rotation, leading in starts (25), victories and strikeouts. He is 13-4 in his last 17 starts.