Ninth Inning Rally Sends Tribe Past M’s; Indians 2, Mariners 1
By Mike Brandyberry
Seattle relief pitcher Brandon League has to be happy to see the Cleveland Indians leave town because it seems they have his number.
A year ago the Tribe beat the Mariners closer early in the season to steal a come from behind win and they did it again Thursday evening. This time Jack Hannahan’s one-out base hit drove home two runs to give the Indians a 2-1 victory. It was all the offense the Tribe would muster on the evening.
Josh Tomlin, who has struggled since last July, matched Seattle ace, Felix Hernandez nearly pitch for pitch on the evening. Tomlin threw eight innings, allowing five hits and one run. Tomlin’s lone run scored in the bottom of the fifth when Michael Saunders doubled to right center field, Miguel Olivo sacrificed him to third base and John Jaso grounded into a fielder’s choice.
With Jaso at the plate the Indians had a drawn in infield and Jason Kipnis’ throw was high and wide of home plate. Saunders was safe and Jaso advanced to second on the miscue. Tomlin retired Brendan Ryan and Chone Figgins to minimize the damage.
However, in the ninth inning League entered the game and the Tribe offense came alive. Carlos Santana led off the inning with a walk and Travis Hafner singled. After Casey Kotchman sacrificed the two runners to second and third, Hafner was replaced for pinch runner, Aaron Cunningham. Shelley Duncan walked to load the bases before Hannahan singled to left field, scoring Santana and Cunningham and giving the Tribe the lead.
The ninth inning comeback squanders the superb effort by Hernandez who pitched eight innings, allowing seven hits and striking out 12 hitters. He did not allow a run in his 126 pitches.
Closer Chris Perez worked a three up, three down ninth inning to close out the game for the Indians and give the team a series victory. After a 1-4 season start, the team has now won six of its last seven contests.
Friday evening the Tribe will travel down the Pacific coast to open a weekend series with the Oakland Athletics. Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 4.50) will try to find the stuff he had in his first appearance this season while matching up with the Athletics Graham Godfrey (0-2, 4.09). Game time is 10:05 ET and the game can be found on Sports Time Ohio and the Indians Radio Network.
Photo: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images