Tribe Offense De-Thrones The King; Indians 9, Mariners 3
By Christian Petrila
The Indians offense didn’t care that it was going up against a former Cy Young winner, and Ubaldo Jimenez didn’t care that fans were out looking for reasons to criticize him, as the Indians took the first of two against Seattle, 9-3.
The Mariners wasted no time getting to Ubaldo Jimenez, scoring a run in the first inning on an Ichiro RBI groundout. Following the game on Twitter, some people were already hitting the Ubaldo panic button. Although he did throw 27 pitches in the first, 21 of them were for strikes, so he was consistent. The Mariners were just doing an excellent job of fouling off pitches. Things would start getting wacky in the bottom of the frame, though.
With the usually untouchable Felix Hernandez on the mound, the Indians struck for four runs in the first. Considering Hernandez went eight innings and struck out 12 when the Indians visitedSeattleearlier in the season, four runs in one inning seemed like a miracle. However, it wasn’t so much the runs as it was the way the Indians got the runs that surprised many fans.
The Indians led off the inning with back-to-back hits from Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Kipnis. Asdrubal Cabrera was hit by a pitch bringing up Travis Hafner with the bases loaded and no outs. The first run scored on a passed ball that Jesus Montero couldn’t catch. Hafner got an RBI groundout to end his at bat. Carlos Santana walked and Michael Brantley struck out. That brought Johnny Damon to the plate and the circus into town.
With Damon nursing a 2-2 count, manager Manny Acta put on a delayed steal with Santana at first. Catcher Jesus Montero tried to catch Cabrera napping at third. Rather than get a sneaky third out, Montero’s throw sailed into left field. Cabrera raced home and scored. Left fielder Chone Figgins tried to throw Cabrera out at home, but the ball short hopped and bounced away from Montero. In the confusion, Carlos did his best impression of Kenny Lofton from the 1995 ALCS, scoring from second base just in front of the throw to the plate. The play was a scorekeeper’s nightmare and a disaster for Hernandez.
The second inning was quiet on both fronts. The Mariners got two runs back in the third when Dustin Ackley hit a two-run home run on a pitch he almost had to kneel to hit. The 4-3 score would last until the fourth, when the Indians tagged the 2010 Cy Young winner again.
Hernandez recorded a quick first out on former teammate Jose Lopez. Choo singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Kipnis drove him home with a double to left-center. Cabrera grounded out, bringing Hafner to the plate with two outs. He smacked a double to right field, then Santana quickly returned the favor with a double of his own. After a Michael Brantley single to center, Hernandez’s night was over. His final line was 3.2 innings pitched while allowing 10 hits and eight runs, six earned.
The Indians got an insurance run in the sixth when Hafner hit a pitch offSeattlereliever Hisashi Iwakuma that probably had a hangtime of around seven seconds into the seats in right. The score was 9-3 Indians. The Mariners would’ve needed a couple field goals to tie it.
Jeremy Accardo made his Indians debut in the seventh inning and first impressions were promising. He sent the Mariners down in order, striking out one in the process.
Ubaldo Jimenez was very solid coming off his poor start in Boston. He went six innings allowing five hits and three earned runs while striking out four.
“I felt this was the best he has thrown all year,” Acta said. “He looked relaxed, he looked fluid, with his delivery and everything.”
Jimenez improves his record on the season to 4-3, while Hernandez drops to 3-3.
The win improves the Indians record to 21-16, while the Mariners drop to 16-23.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images