RAUL IBANEZ was more than happy to turn those welcome back calls of "Ra-uuul!" into a good old Bronx cheer.
Ibanez again treated Yankee Stadium as his personal playground, hitting a grand slam and two-run homer last night to help the Seattle Mariners rout New York, 12-2.
"I can't tell that much of a difference even though when you hear it, depending on how you're doing, you know," Ibanez said with a sly smile.
Ibanez' slam came during a seven-run first inning. Yankees backup shortstop Alberto Gonzalez got the final out in the ninth inning in his first professional pitching appearance.
Every Seattle starter had at least one of its season-high 16 hits and Jesus Montero was the only starter who failed to score a run in the Mariners' best output this year.
The Mariners chased Phil Hughes after he got only two outs in the first. Trying to preserve his bullpen, Yankees manager Joe Girardi had Brett Marshall throw 108 pitches in his big-league debut, then brought in Gonzalez.
"We need one out," Girardi said. "It's not something I want to do, but for me to bring in another pitcher. I think it doesn't make a lot of sense there."
Ibanez has connected three times in the first two games of his return to the ballpark in which - last season at 40 years old - he electrified crowds in late September and October with several key homers in the Yankees' run to the ALCS.
This time, the cheers were replaced by boos for Hughes (2-3) when Ibanez connected for his 11th career slam. Ibanez homered again in the fifth inning off Marshall.
"I said silliness happens here. There's also something that happens here with Raul," teammate Brendan Ryan said. "It's awesome."
Ibanez thinks it's a coincidence that he had another special performance here. He says it's not Yankee Stadium; his swing has been improving the past week or so. Ibanez raised his average that was .158 at the end of April to .224 after his 2-for-5 night.
Kendrys Morales, Michael Morse and Michael Saunders each drove in a run in the highest-scoring first inning at the stadium that opened in 2009.
Kyle Seager added a three-run shot off Marshall in the sixth.
The first inning outburst made it easy for Japanese righthander Hisashi Iwakuma (5-1), who came in with a 1.74 ERA. He gave up solo homers to Vernon Wells - his 10th - and Chris Stewart.
"Those were big gifts," Iwakuma said through a translator of the run support.
In AL games *
At St. Petersburg, Jon Lester stayed unbeaten, Stephen Drew hit his second career grand slam and the Boston Red Sox roughed up AL Cy Young winner David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-2.
Price (1-4) departed from the marquee pitching matchup because of left triceps tightness during Boston's eight-run third inning, which Drew finished with his towering homer off Jamey Wright.
* At Baltimore, Alexi Amarista had three extra-base hits and the San Diego Padres matched their season-high with 17 hits, beating the Orioles, 8-4.
* At Detroit, Brandon Barnes caught Miguel Cabrera's bases-loaded drive against the wall in right-center field for the final out, and the Houston Astros avoided a season sweep against the Tigers with a 7-5 victory.
* At Minneapolis, Adam Dunn homered twice, doubled and drove in five runs, powering the Chicago White Sox past the Minnesota Twins, 9-4.
* At Oakland, Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer, Alexi Ogando (4-2) earned his first career win against Oakland and the Texas Rangers took the rubber game with the Athletics, 6-2.
In NL games *
At Phoenix, Paul Goldschmidt hit three doubles, Eric Chavez drove in three runs and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat Tim Hudson and the Atlanta Braves, 5-3. Hudson (4-3) had been 7-0 in nine career starts against Arizona before he got tagged.
* At Miami, Shin-Soo Choo hit two homers and four pitchers combined on an 11-hit shutout to help the Cincinnati Reds extend their winning streak to five games, beating the Marlins, 4-0.
* At St. Louis, rookie Shelby Miller followed up his nearly perfect one-hitter with 5 2/3 scoreless innings and the Cardinals scored the go-ahead run in the seventh on a wild pitch in a 4-2 victory over the New York Mets.
* At Chicago, Jeff Samardzija (2-5) pitched eight strong innings and hit a two-run homer to lead the Cubs to a 6-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
* At Pittsburgh, Wandy Rodriguez (4-2) allowed one run over seven strong innings and Neil Walker hit a two-run single as the Pirates beat Milwaukee, 3-1.
In interleague play *
At Toronto, J.P. Arencibia and Adam Lind each hit two-run home runs and the Blue Jays won their season-high fourth straight game, beating the San Francisco Giants, 11-3.
The Los Angeles Dodgers no sooner got Zack Greinke back from the disabled list when Josh Beckett took his place there. Beckett, who has a strained left groin, is 0-5 with a 5.19 ERA in eight starts this season.