Then it kept carrying, and the seven-time Gold Glove winner chasing it, Ichiro Suzuki, couldn't quite seem to find it in the sun.
The ball dropped in, giving Molina a two-out double that drove in the go-ahead run. New York scored four times in the eighth to beat the skidding Seattle Mariners 6-5 on Sunday, the Yankees' first victory this season when trailing after seven innings and their first after falling behind by three or more runs.
Molina's double was the kind of play that goes right for a team that has won a season-best five in a row and wrong for a team that has lost a season-worst six straight. New York won consecutive series for the first time this year, while the Mariners finished their road trip 0-6.
"I felt like it was one of the better games we played all year," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said. "We got contributions from everyone, especially in the eighth. We had walks. We had timely hits. We pretty much did a lot of things right."
With the Yankees trailing 5-2, Jeter drew a walk to lead off the eighth against reliever Sean Green. Arthur Rhodes took over for the lefty-on-lefty matchup against Bobby Abreu, who doubled to drive in Jeter.
In came Putz (1-2), the Seattle closer, to try to get the six-out save. Instead, he got the loss. Putz walked Alex Rodriguez and struck out Jason Giambi looking to bring up pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui, who had been rested against left-handed starter Jarrod Washburn.
Matsui hit a soft grounder to the right of the mound, and Putz had to dive to field it. But his attempt to throw to first from his knees was wild, allowing Abreu to score and Rodriguez to move to third. Matsui was credited with an infield single, while Putz was charged with an error.
"It's just an instinct thing," Putz said. "You're taught to go for every ball that's hit. I probably would've been better off eating it. I just got caught up in the moment."
Shaken up, Putz stayed down on his knees for a minute but remained in the game. He said he got the wind knocked out of him and had a stinger in his left shoulder.
Robinson Cano drove in the tying run with a sacrifice fly, with Matsui alertly tagging up and advancing to second. Molina then doubled over the head of Suzuki, who was playing shallow in center.
"It was a difficult play," Suzuki said through a translator. "When the ball was hit, I started running without looking at the ball. I was playing a little further over than normal, and there was always the idea of the sun being in the way. Then I had some trouble finding it."
The Yankees' rally meant Mariano Rivera had to rush to warm up. Edwar Ramirez (1-0), who pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win, came out to the mound before the ninth to give Rivera more time. The closer then took over and showed no ill effects, striking out the last two batters to earn his 12th save in 12 chances.
The Mariners wasted a strong performance by Washburn. He allowed two runs and four hits but started feeling tired by his last inning, the sixth.
"Better than nine times out of 10 we nail this one down," Washburn said. "I guess when you're going as bad as we are, nothing seems to go right for you."
The Mariners, who own the worst record in the AL at 18-33, were swept at Yankee Stadium for the second time this month.
The Yankees (25-25) are at .500 for the first time since May 10.
"It's been an important little run for us," manager Joe Girardi said, "these five games to get us back to .500."
New York first baseman Shelley Duncan had an eventful fourth inning, when the Yankees threw out two runners at the plate but still gave up two runs.
- When Johnny Damon stole third in the third, it was the first time a base was stolen against Washburn since July 24 -- a streak of 121 innings, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Rodriguez added a steal of second in the sixth.
- The next step in Joba Chamberlain's transition from reliever to starter is for him to throw about 55 pitches Tuesday or Wednesday, Girardi said. Girardi wants Chamberlain to get up to 75-80 pitches before he's ready to start.
- Wang's start was pushed back a day because of a sore right calf. The right-hander gave up five runs and seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.