NEW YORK — Chris Iannetta admits his slow start a year ago weighed on his mind. So this year, with a new club, he particularly wanted to get off to a fast start.
So note: Iannetta fueled a 12-hit attack Friday night that carried the Mariners to a 7-1 victory over the New York Yankees in the South Bronx.
"I want to contribute," he said. "I want to win. Winning is first and foremost. But I don’t feel I’ve done my job as a baseball player unless I contribute to that. Any time I can do that, I’m happy."
Iannetta had three hits and a walk in his four plate appearances, including a two-run homer against New York starter Luis Severino (0-2) that broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning.
"It feels better to do well than to be 6-for-70 or whatever the heck it was (last year with Angels)," Iannetta said. "That was a rough stretch.
"It weighed on me from the beginning of last season, all through last season, all through my workouts in the off-season, in spring training. It was definitely on my mind.
"It was something I definitely didn’t want to do (again)."
Further note: Iannetta started 6-for-67 last year with the Angels. He is currently batting .320.
"He’s in a good spot mentally," manager Scott Servias said. "He feels good about his swing. And he’s learning our pitching staff."
Adam Lind and Robinson Cano also contributed two hits and an RBI as the Mariners (4-6) showed signs of gaining some traction after five straight home losses before Wednesday’s walk-off victory over Texas.
"We got the line moving," Servais said, "and kept pressure on them in multiple innings. Offensively, it was a nice job."
Starter Nathan Karns (1-1) gave up a homer in the first inning to Brett Gardner but nothing more despite laboring at times while throwing 101 pitches in five innings.
"I kept putting myself in trouble early," Karns said. "Right off the bat in innings. But I stuck with it. Iannetta and I were able to execute.
"Leonys (Martin) made a huge play for me on (what could have been) a double in the gap. He tracked it down. He saved one run, at least. Maybe two runs (in the fifth inning)."
That was after Karns worked out of a second-and-third jam with no outs in the fourth by striking out three straight batters.
"It was just one pitch at a time," he said, "and three hits in a row, it just kind of went my way there…We just took the lead, and the last thing I want to do is sit there and give that up."
Tony Zych inherited a 4-1 lead from Karns to begin the sixth inning but worked himself into trouble by issuing two walks after yielding a bloop double to Didi Gregorius.
The Mariners turned to Vidal Nuno with two outs and the bases loaded to face Mark Teixeira — even though Teixeira is a far better hitter throughout his 14-year career against left-handed pitchers.
"Not last year," Servais said. "We liked the match-up there based on scouting reports."
The strategy worked. Teixeira grounded out to short.
The Mariners added another run in the seventh on Franklin Gutierrez’s sacrifice fly against one-time Mariners lefty Tyler Olson, who was making his Yankees debut.
Iannetta’s two-out RBI single in the eighth made it 6-1, and Gutierrez added an RBI double in the ninth. Both of those also came against Olson.
Joel Peralta and Mike Montgomery closed out the victory.
PLAY OF THE GAME: New York second baseman Starlin Castro made a circus catch on Leonys Martin’s low liner in the second inning and turned it into a double play.
Chris Iannetta broke from second base on the play and was easily doubled up.
PLUS: Adam Lind had two singles, including one for a two-out RBI in the sixth after entering the game at 2-for-21…Vidal Nuno bailed out Tony Zych from a bases-loaded jam with two outs in the sixth.
MINUS: The Mariners hit into double plays in the second, third and fourth innings. Kyle Seager did it in second and fourth. Seager also hit into two double plays Wednesday against Texas.
STAT PACK: The Mariners scored 26 runs in their last three road games but scored only 11 in their six-game homestand.
QUOTABLE: "The game is slow to me right now," reliever Vidal Nuno said. "It’s just (a matter of) going out there, relaxing and making my pitches. And the results came."
Nuno stranded three inherited runners in the sixth and worked a one-two-three seventh inning — and did it all on 16 pitches. He lowered his ERA to 2.08.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners