SEATTLE -- Jarrod Washburn was so good he reminded the opposing pitcher of a former Mariners ace.
"He looked like Randy Johnson out there. The only thing that was missing was the Kingdome roof out there," the Big Unit said chuckling.
The Yankees lost for the second time on their eight-game road trip and saw their AL East lead cut to 5½ games over Boston -- despite Johnson's second complete game of the season and 98th of his career. Johnson (14-10) allowed four runs and seven hits.
"Randy was great," Yankees manager Joe Torre said.
The New York shutdown was a revelation in this lost Mariners season. It wasn't one for Washburn.
He and Pedro Martinez are the only pitchers who have a career ERA under 3.00 against the Yankees over a minimum of seven starts since 1999. Washburn, whom Seattle signed from the Angels for $37.5 million and four years last December, is 4-3 with a 2.59 ERA in eight starts against New York.
He has allowed three earned runs in two starts against the Yankees this season.
"I'm aggressive with my fastball," Washburn said. "It's like facing an All-Star team with their lineup. So maybe some guys tend to be tentative when they pitch to them. But I don't."
Washburn left after two hard drives in the seventh. Ichiro Suzuki, playing center field for the fifth time this season, raced to the warning track to make an exquisite, leaping, stretching catch of Nick Green's drive.
"I don't know you'll ever see a better catch then that," Seattle manager Mike Hargrove said.
Johnny Damon hit Washburn's next pitch into the second row of the right-field bleachers for his career-high 21st home run of the season and eighth this month. That made it 4-2.
But Julio Mateo and George Sherrill were perfect in finishing the seventh and eighth innings. And J.J. Putz was perfect in the ninth for his 26th save in 31 chances, striking out ailing pinch-hitter Alex Rodriguez to end it. Rodriguez angrily slapped his bat on his fruitless swing's follow through.
Johnson wasn't as sharp early as Washburn, though the Mariners didn't exactly pound Johnson during their decisive, three-run third inning.
Chris Snelling lined a double over third base. After Willie Bloomquist squibbed an infield single that spun inside the first-base line, Lopez fought off an inside, 0-2 fastball for a single that scored Snelling to break a 1-1 tie.
Sexson followed with a two-run double.
Johnson only allowed a seventh-inning single after that.
"How much better can I do?" Johnson said.
Lopez had given Seattle a 1-0 lead when he singled home Suzuki, who had doubled leading off the first inning.
Derek Jeter's RBI single scored Craig Wilson in the third inning to briefly tie the game.
New York had four base runners in the fourth inning but did not score. Catcher Kenji Johjima picked Robinson Cano off first base after he had singled. And after Washburn hit Green with a pitch to load the bases, Snelling made a running catch in left field on a Damon liner to end the inning.
- Rodriguez still felt the throat infection that caused him to stay at the team hotel during Wednesday's game. He expects to start Friday at the Los Angeles Angels.
- An MRI on Seattle RHP Mark Lowe showed inflammation in his right elbow but no ligament damage. "Great news," said Lowe, who feared surgery. Team doctors are prescribing indefinite amount of rest. Lowe, promoted from Double-A on July 7, has allowed four earned runs in his first 18 2/3 innings in the major leagues (1.93 ERA).