(SportsNetwork.com) - Masahiro Tanaka will try to grab a share of the American League lead in victories on Wednesday night when the phenom takes the mound for the second contest of a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners.
Tanaka has won three straight starts, improving to 9-1 on the year with a 2-1 victory over Oakland on Thursday. The righty gave up one run on five hits and a walk over six innings.
Tanaka's earned run average sits at an AL-leading 2.02 and he trails only Toronto's Mark Buehrle and his 10 victories for the most in baseball. Tanaka has allowed two earned runs in his past three starts and no more than three earned in any of his 12 outings on the year.
"He's the most experienced," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "What he's done in Japan and what he's been able to do here, he's stepped up for us and kind of assumed that (ace) role."
The 25-year-old will face the Mariners for the first time and will be opposed by right-hander Chris Young, who has never lost to the Yankees in his career.
Young is 2-0 with a 4.43 ERA in four previous meetings with New York and brings a perfect record at home this year into tonight's encounter. He is 3-0 at Safeco Field in 2014 with a 1.89 ERA in five outings.
The 35-year-old Young had a two-start win streak halted with a 4-0 loss to the hosting Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, charged with three runs on seven hits and five walks over five innings.
Young fell to 5-3 on the year with a 3.42 ERA.
New York won Monday's opener 3-2 as Jacoby Ellsbury singled home the go-ahead run in the eighth inning.
Derek Jeter's ground-rule double chased Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma with one away in the frame and Ellsbury put a Charlie Furbush offering into right to give the Yankees the lead.
The victory snapped New York's two-game slide and it had dropped six of eight coming in.
"I thought our defense was excellent," said Girardi. "Hopefully (Ellsbury's) hit gets us on a roll here."
Iwakuma allowed three runs on seven hits with five strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings in the setback, which snapped Seattle's three-game winning streak overall and gave the club only its second loss in 10 games.
"He pitched extremely well," said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon of Iwakuma. "Once he found his groove, he was strong and he threw the ball extremely well."
Robinson Cano had two hits and a run scored against his former club, while Cole Gillespie and Dustin Ackley each knocked in a run for the M's.
New York won three of four in Seattle a season ago.