Raul Ibanez swears it's not the park.
Just about any answer from Ibanez will contain some form of the phrase "keeping it simple." He's 40, still works hard, and had plenty to work at after an abysmal April. Through two weeks in May -- a small sample -- it has worked. Ibanez hit two more homers Wednesday night in Yankee Stadium during the Mariners' 12-2 drubbing of the Yankees. He has three home runs in two days and nine home runs in his last 11 games at Yankee Stadium.
Unlike the prior night when the Mariners could not KO CC Sabathia, obviously a superior pitcher to Phil Hughes, they were able to blast Hughes out of the game almost immediately. He lasted just 2/3 of an inning during the Mariners' 7-run first.
Four of those came from Ibanez's 11th career grand slam. Ibanez concedes the park has a good hitter's background, but says he's not convinced something beyond being in a good place with his swing prior to arriving has anything to do with his recent burst.
Ibanez is also having a tough time deciphering what initially sounded like "Rauuuulll" shouts from the home crowd and later sure sounded a lot more like "boooooooooo" from the Yankee faithful.
“It sounds the same,’’ Ibanez said, with a smirk. “I don’t want to say that because I don’t want it to get louder.’’
With a seven-run first, not much to over-analyze here:
> In ground Ryan and I have covered prior, no one feels the stress of Brendan Ryan's low batting average more than Brendan Ryan. In fact, that's likely one of the lead contributors to it. I went over to talk to him postgame because he had balls in play Wednesday night that were a couple inches each from being hits. He ended up with an infield single in his last at-bat to give every Mariners starter a hit.
"I would have risked walking on crutches the rest of my life to get that hit," Ryan said.
> Eric Wedge took out Hisashi Iwakuma -- who was in control once again -- after seven innings just to get Oliver Perez and Tom Wilhelmsen some work. Iwakuma threw just 89 pitches.
> Perez struck out the first batter he faced to give him seven consecutive strikeouts. He became the first Mariners pitcher since Rafael Soriano in 2003 to strikeout seven consecutive batters.
> The Mariners are 7-4 in May. They go for their second road series win of the month with Aaron Harang on the mound Thursday.