McCutchen,Yankees on verge of sweeping Mariners

Andrew McCutchen lost his luggage but found his batting stroke.

When the New York Yankees arrived at the team hotel Thursday in Seattle after a charter flight from San Francisco, McCutchen’s bags were missing.

“They couldn’t find it. It ended up being here at the ballpark,” McCutchen said of his luggage, which was brought from Safeco Field to his hotel room about 8 p.m. on Thursday’s off day.

“I was just chilling in my robe the majority of the day, really,” McCutchen said.

As for the batting stroke?

After flying out to center field in his first at-bat Friday, making him 1-for-17 with the Yankees since being acquired Aug. 31 from San Francisco, McCutchen came up in the third inning with a runner on against Mariners left-hander James Paxton and hit a two-run shot to left-center field. It was his first home run for the Yankees.

“I felt awesome. It’s the sixth game for me here, but it feels good to get a big hit like that,” McCutchen said after New York’s 4-0 victory. “I just hope something like that will get you going and start throwing the hits out there after that.”

McCutchen led off Saturday’s 4-2 victory with a home run off longtime Seattle ace Felix Hernandez and will try to extend the streak Sunday in the series finale at Safeco Field.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he felt good about the contact McCutchen made in his first at-bat Friday and mentioned that to the outfielder on the bench.

“I think the at-bats have been good from him,” Boone said. “We’ve seen him obviously take some walks, and that’s been something he’s done all year (and) really throughout his career.”

McCutchen said he wasn’t discouraged during his 1-for-17 stretch.

“Because overall, I was having good swings, taking good passes at balls and grinding out at-bats,” McCutchen said. “Overall, I wasn’t frustrated. Just matter of time when the hits will fall.”

The Yankees will not only be going after a sweep of the three-game series Sunday but also a season sweep. They defeated the Mariners three straight times in June in New York.

Left-hander CC Sabathia (7-6, 3.54 ERA) is scheduled to start against Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez (2-3, 5.56).

Sabathia is 14-6 with a 2.57 ERA in 28 career starts against Seattle, including 10-1 in 14 appearances at Safeco Field. He’s 7-0 with a 1.13 ERA in his past eight starts in Seattle, allowing one or fewer runs in seven of them. Ramirez is 2-2 with a 3.66 ERA in 17 career appearances against the Yankees. In four starts, he’s 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA.

The Mariners have scored three or fewer runs in five of their past six games, dropping 7 1/2 games behind Oakland in the race for the American League’s second and final wild-card berth.

“It’s a broken record, it really is,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said of the offensive futility. “Some nights it’s a good pitcher, other nights we’re just not squaring the ball up. Unfortunately, the timing of this (slump) is pretty bad.”