Failed Fundamentals Cost Cleveland Again; Mariners 4, Indians 3
Bob Toth | On 24, Jul 2013
Bad defense and an awful base running blunder resulted in Cleveland handing Seattle their eighth consecutive win, as the Indians fell to the Mariners at Safeco Field on Tuesday night, 4-3.
The Cleveland loss prevented an opportunity for the Indians to earn a split on their six-game road trip. They fall to three and a half games behind Detroit in the American League Central Division race after the Tigers won their third consecutive game on Tuesday night.
All four of the Indians’ losses on the road trip have been by one run.
The Indians have committed seven errors in their first five games out of the All-Star break, with several other plays that could have easily been ruled as miscues as well. Even more costly was a mental error on the bases that does not show up in the box score, but certainly affected the final outcome of the night’s game.
“Obviously, we need to win tomorrow,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “But we need to get back home and get out there and get some early work because we’re not catching the ball very well.”
The Indians struck first in the top of the first. With two outs, Jason Kipnis doubled to deep right center against Erasmo Ramirez. A single to center just past the pitcher and a diving Nick Franklin at shortstop by Asdrubal Cabrera gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead.
Zach McAllister returned to the mound and sandwiched a walk between two pop outs. Kendrys Morales reached on an error by Kipnis, who misplayed the grounder, and the next batter, Kyle Seager, hit a ball at Mark Reynolds at first that ate him up. The official ruling of a double scored the rookie Franklin to tie the game at one.
Cleveland was again the beneficiary of clutch two-out hitting in the second to retake the lead. Lonnie Chisenhall singled to left and Yan Gomes followed him by driving a 1-1 pitch to left field for his seventh home run of the season. The two-run shot gave the Indians a 3-1 lead. It was the third home run for Gomes in three games against the Mariners this season.
Seattle bounced right back and took the lead for good in the bottom of the third. Raul Ibanez doubled deep to center and Morales chased him home with a ground rule double over the wall in left center to make the score 3-2. Seager drove the next pitch into right center for a single, but the throw to the plate gunned down Morales for the first out of the inning. Justin Smoak struck out swinging for the second out before Michael Saunders doubled to center to move Seager to third and keep the inning alive.
Still with an opportunity to escape the inning with the lead, McAllister threw low and wide of the plate on a 1-1 pitch to Mike Zunino. The wild pitch went all the way to the backstop and allowed Seager to score from third to tie the game at 3-3. Two pitches later, Zunino singled to right to score Saunders with what became the deciding run on the night.
The Indians led off both the fifth and sixth innings with singles and in both circumstances, the very next batter grounded into double plays. A third double play in the ninth effectively ended any chances of an Indians comeback.
Reynolds singled on the first pitch of the top of the ninth from Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen. Drew Stubbs came off of the bench and pinch-ran for him. After taking a ball, Chisenhall singled to center and the speedy Stubbs moved all the way to third on the play. The next man up, Gomes, grounded the ball to Seager. The third baseman threw to second base, forcing Chisenhall, but Stubbs broke late from third and attempted to score. The Mariners’ Franklin threw to the plate, catching Stubbs in a rundown between third and home.
With the rally killed and the tying run all the way at first base with two outs, Michael Bourn struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch to end the ball game.
“The idea is that if they can turn two, [Stubbs] can’t stay at third,” said Francona. “So once they threw to second, he’s going. He just probably needed to keep going and take our chances. Can’t go on contact, because you’re going to run into an out. But once they start to turn two, he’s just got to keep going.”
“When he went to second, I should have just broke for home,” said Stubbs. “I didn’t and I hesitated, and it cost us. That’s all I can say.”
“Any slight hesitation is going to cost you like it did.”
The save for Wilhelmsen was his 23rd of the season.
McAllister (4-6) allowed four runs, three earned, in five innings in his first start since June 2nd. He struck out five and issued three free passes.
“I thought he had good velocity. I thought he was crisp; very good changeup,” said Francona. “Had he kept his composure…first time back and hadn’t pitched in a while and we’re making him throw a lot of pitches. I thought he did a pretty good job. He went through a little stretch where he kept a couple out over the plate to their big hitters and they drove the ball to left-center. But then he reeled it back in and started coming back in again and was effective.”
Ramirez (1-0) earned his first win of the season after pitching five and two-thirds innings on the night. He allowed three runs on eight hits, struck out four, and walked two.
A pair of left-handers will square off in the series finale on Wednesday afternoon. Joe Saunders (9-8, 4.28) will look to remain perfect in July while in search of his fifth win of the month. Scott Kazmir (5-4, 4.30) is coming off of an excellent two-hit effort in his last start.
First pitch is scheduled for 3:40 PM and can be seen on Fox Sports SportsTime Ohio. Radio broadcasts will be available on the radio affiliates of the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.
Photo: Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images