NEW YORK (AP) -- Heading into the All-Star break Joe Girardi gave CC Sabathia a pep talk, telling the big lefty he needed to take on more of a leadership role as things heat up.
With a throwback outing Sunday, Sabathia let his manager know: message received.
Sabathia was stellar in his matchup against Felix Hernandez and Mark Teixeira homered with two outs in the eighth inning as the New York Yankees rallied for a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday for a series win.
"He matched one of the best pitchers in baseball pitch for pitch," Teixera said.
On a steamy day with a gametime temperature of 92 degrees - a thermometer in the photographers' well down the first base line read over 100 - both Cy Young Award winning starters were done after six impressive innings with the score tied 1-all.
Sabathia, the 2007 AL Cy Young winner, had one of his best starts of the year, allowing six hits and striking out seven. Hernandez, selected in 2010, yielded five hits and three walks with five strikeouts.
"I've said all along it was the consistency of his pitches. Today the consistency was there," Girardi said. "The one thing we know is CC has a lot of heart."
Carlos Beltran returned from the disabled list and had a tying RBI single in the sixth after Austin Jackson put Seattle ahead with a run-scoring single.
Teixeira connected on a 1-2 pitch from former closer Fernando Rodney (2-4), who had a new copper-colored beard and hairdo.
"He hit my best pitch," Rodney said. "Sometimes we're not perfect, and that was one of those times."
Teixeira's third hit of the game was a fly a few rows deep in the short right field porch that give the AL East leaders their 18th home win in 25 games at Yankee Stadium since May 25. He has 23 home runs and 63 RBIs this year after having 22 homers and 62 RBIs last season.
"Individual success means a whole lot more when your team is playing well," Teixeira said.
Dellin Betances (6-2) walked two in the eighth but got Mark Trumbo to pop out to end the threat. Andrew Miller finished for his 20th save in 20 chances.
Seattle's Jesus Montero singled against his former team to start the fifth after Sabathia struck out four straight. Chris Taylor then failed on two bunt attempts before lining a single to right field. Mike Zunino did get the bunt down to put runners on second and third for Jackson, who singled to center for the early lead.
Sabathia struck out Kyle Seager and Robinson Cano to end the inning.
"CC pitched extremely well today. His command was exceptional," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "So was Felix."
Embarrassed by the Yankees on June 1 at Safeco when he was tagged for seven runs, Hernandez was back to form again a ballpark he's been very comfortable in - his ERA in the Bronx actually went up to 1.38. He didn't let a baserunner past second until the sixth.
Brett Gardner, sporting shiny new white shoes with gold trim, led off the Yankees sixth with a walk. Taylor broke to cover second base with one out, and Teixeira hit a sharp grounder to the spot the shortstop just left. Taylor tried diving back but the ball went through to put runners on first and third.
Beltran singled Gardner home for the 1-all tie and his first RBI since June 22.
"I just tried to go up there and basically be aggressive," Beltran said.
Mariners: Montero was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after going 2 for 2 with a walk. He was called up when J.A. Happ was sent down before the All-Star break.
Yankees: The Yankees optioned 2B Rob Refsnyder to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room for Beltran. The 24-year-old Korean-born rookie was 2 for 12 with a homer in four games.
Mariners: The team will recall Happ (4-5) to start Monday against Detroit. Happ agreed to an assignment to Class A Bakersfield July 10 to allow Seattle to bring up an extra bat before the All-Star break.
Yankees: After an off day, Nathan Eovaldi (9-2) starts the opener of a series against division rival Baltimore. He's 4-0 with a 2.93 ERA in his last five starts. The RHP allowed homers to Caleb Joseph and Jimmy Paredes in a win May 7 at Yankee Stadium.
Rodney got a few laughs and stares when he strode into the Mariners clubhouse Sunday morning sporting a copper-colored hair do. Some of his beard was dyed, too. The colorful reliever said he's now called "El Rubio." When asked why he did it, Rodney responded, "It's too hot. This kind of relaxes me."