Tribe Finishes Road Trip in Grand Fashion; Indians 10, Mariners 1

Indians leadoff hitter Michael Bourn led off Wednesday afternoon’s game in Seattle with a bunt for a single. Four innings later, he hit the ball quite a bit further, collecting his first career grand slam. It was the knockout blow of a 10-1 victory for Cleveland.

The big win snapped the Tribe’s two-game losing skid and allowed the Indians to pull within three games of the AL Central leading Tigers, who play this evening. Cleveland improved to 53-48 in erasing some of the bad feelings the team surely had during a mostly forgettable 2-4 trip through Minnesota and Seattle to start the season’s second half.

There was much the Indians would probably like to forget about in dropping four of its five games on their journey out west. However, a big offensive output, combined with lights-out pitching from starter Scott Kazmir would not give Cleveland much to regret in the road trip’s final game.

“It was nice to bounce back after a couple of tough ones,” said Tribe manager Terry Francona. “It was good to see our guys see some results.”

The Indians needed the surge from its hitters. Cleveland scored three runs or less in all four of its losses. The Tribe briefly found its bats for a seven-run showing on Sunday. Other than that, the offense had mostly been a rumor since the All-Star break. That is until Wednesday when the offense had a reawakening.

The Indians were led by Bourn’s grand slam, his third home run of the season. However, he was far from the only batter to produce. Cleveland’s 14-hit attack saw Asdrubal Cabrera collect a pair of hits, including a solo home run. He had three RBIs and reached home four times. Carlos Santana added a trio of hit and drove home three runs.

“That was much-need and a good day,” Francona said. “From Bourny leading off with a bunt hit to start the game to Bourny getting the grand slam, it was all nice to see.”

All of the offense, including two homers and four doubles, was more than enough for Kazmir. Kazmir, who has been sharp for seven consecutive outings, had one of his best of the year Wednesday. The veteran lefty went eight innings, giving up one unearned run on just one hit. He struck out seven Mariners and walked two in improving to 6-4 with a 3.96 ERA.

“Kaz had it from the get-go and held it for eight innings,” Francona said. “He pitched very well.”

The Indians began their attack early, scoring a pair of runs in the first inning off Seattle starter Joe Saunders. A double by Cabrera gave Cleveland a 2-0 lead that the Mariners would not recover from. Santana added a run-scoring two-bagger to give the Tribe a three-spot for the opening frame.

The Mariners put up their lone tally with an unearned run in the second. That was quickly negated when Santana doubled home another run in Cleveland’s half of the third, to push the edge back to three runs.

In the fifth, it was Bourn’s blast that really put the dagger into the hearts of the Mariners. The entire rally began with two out. Mark Reynolds singled to get it going. That was followed by back-to-back walks from Yan Gomes and Drew Stubbs to set up the Bourn blast.

Cleveland made it 9-1 with a Cabrera homer in the sixth and closed out the scoring with an RBI fielder’s choice.

The Indians will now head back home where they will begin a seven-game stretch at Progressive Field. They will see the Rangers for three games and White Sox for four. Friday’s matchup with Texas will have Corey Kluber (7-5, 3.69) going to the mound for the Tribe against the Rangers’ Marin Perez (3-3, 3.40). Game time is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP Photo

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