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BAL@NYY: Ichiro leaps at the wall to make superb grab

After an off-day Thursday for both the Mariners and Yankees, Ichiro will meet his old team again -- this time in his new home park. And it just so happens his old team is playing the better brand of baseball of late.

New York hosts Seattle for a three-game weekend series in the Bronx starting at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday. That's the start of a nine-game road trip for the Mariners, who are riding a seven-game win streak.

"Just the overall feel of the baseball club [is different]," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. "They're not putting as much heat on themselves individually, I think they're collectively counting on each other. Knowing that not one individual has to do it. I think you look different areas of our club, everybody's contributing. With that, you win baseball games in different fashions, which is what you want."

The Yankees, meanwhile, just snapped another four-game losing streak, their second in two weeks, with a 12-3 win over the Orioles on Wednesday. The Yanks are wrapping a nine-game homestand with the Seattle series.

"You're going to go through really good streaks, and you're going to go through tough streaks," Yankees manager Girardi said. "A lot of people say, when you're going great you're probably not as good as when you're going great. When you're going bad, you're not as bad. We've got a long ways to go. We know we've got our work cut out for us, and we're not playing well right now, but it's part of the game."

CC Sabathia gets the start for New York after a poor outing against the Red Sox his last time out. He did not face Seattle when the Yankees took two of three at Safeco Field from July 23-25, but he went 2-0 with a 1.20 ERA against them last year.

Against the Red Sox on Saturday, Sabathia let up six runs in as many innings.

The Mariners will counter with Kevin Millwood, who held the Royals to one run in 6 1/3 inning his last time out.

Ichiro went 3-for-12 in his first series against the Mariners, which was also his first series with any team but Seattle. He started in left field on Wednesday instead of his usual right.

"I think he's done fine," Girardi said pregame. "I believe he's had a hit in every game that he's played. He's played a good right field. We're going to put him in left field today for the first time, but I think he's done a pretty good job. I don't think he's gotten really caught up with coming to New York, which sometimes players do. I think he's handled that well, and I think he's fit in well."

Mariners: Thames excited for fresh start
The whirlwind behind him, newly acquired Mariners outfielder Eric Thames is glad to be with his new club.

"It's amazing. It's a fresh start," Thames said. "With everything that happened in Toronto this year, it's nice to be able to join a great group of individuals and a great team. I played with some of these guys in the Fall League, and [it's a] young group and guys are developing, just like myself. Exciting to be part of it."

Thames belted a two-run homer in Wednesday's win over Toronto, his former club.

• Wedge said the Mariners are playing much looser during their recent hot stretch, in which they have won 13 of their last 17 games.

"I think that's just them being around each other for a period of time and going through some of the things we've gone through and knowing that they're OK," Wedge said. "You want them to come out there and play tension free, I think they're doing a better job of that."

Yankees: McGehee goes right into lineup
Casey McGehee went 0-for-2 in his Yankees debut on Wednesday, starting at first base. He had two walks, scored two runs and drove in a run on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly.

"I saw him come in this morning," Girardi said. "He was here fairly early, and I told him he was going to play some third, probably play first today."

McGehee had to lose some facial hair -- but that's par for the course in the Bronx.

"All joking aside, I'm just excited to be here," McGehee said. "I'll do whatever it takes. Shaving my beard is the least of my concerns."

Worth noting
• Yankees batters have homered in 20 straight home games, tying for the second-longest streak in franchise history.

• The Mariners have outscored their opponents by three runs this season, despite being seven games under .500.

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