First, Jacoby Ellsbury led them to a lead. Then he left the Yankees in the latter innings.

If the right hip problem that forced Ellsbury out of Thursday’s 6-3 win over the Mariners in front of 40,596 at Safeco Field lingers, the Yankees’ three-game sweep will have come with an expensive price tag.

“It tightened up after I hit the wall,’’ said Ellsbury, who robbed Robinson Cano of at least an extra-base hit and possibly a two-run homer in the fifth with a leaping catch in center. When he bounced off the padded wall, Ellsbury crashed to the warning track. “It continued through the [eighth-inning] at-bat. I’m not concerned. I expect to play [Friday]. It was more preventive than anything.’’
Ellsbury remained in the game until the home seventh.

When the Yankees pulled into the jewel of a ballpark Tuesday, they had lost seven of 10, were 6½ games out of first place and on the cusp of quickly becoming irrelevant in the pedestrian AL East.

Three straight victories over the mild-hitting Mariners and the Yankees (34-31) are 3½ games back of the first-place Blue Jays, and will open a three-game series against the A’s Friday night in Oakland. The 40-26 A’s have the best record in the American League.