Walker, Smith Lead Seattle to Triumph; Mariners 2, Indians 1

Taijuan Walker showed the Seattle Mariners how good he can be.

Walker allowed just two hits over eight innings and Seth Smith hit a two-run homer to lead the Mariners to a 2-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.

Walkergot his first win since April 27 with one of the best starts of the 22-year-old’s young career. He did not walk a batter and struck out eight, matching his career high, for his first victory at Safeco Field.

“With young starters, there’s going to be two starts that you’re not going to like, there’s going to be one that you’re shaking your head,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. “Then there’s one where he’s going to show you a glimpse of the future and tonight that was one of those starts.

“He worked fast, he threw strikes, he worked ahead in the count, he was in and out, he had a great change. … He did everything we asked him.”

Smith, batting cleanup for the first time this season with Robinson Cano out sick, hit a 2-1 pitch from Trevor Bauer (4-2) into the right-center seats in the sixth inning. It scored Nelson Cruz, who had singled.

It was Smith fifth home run this season. The Mariners have homered in eight straight games and 13 of their last 14.

“It was a cutter. It was a stupid pitch. I shouldn’t have thrown it,” Bauer said. “Wrong pitch, wrong time. I should have thrown the fastball in. But, you know, it happens.”

Bauer went seven innings, allowing two runs, six hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts.

Fernando Rodney had trouble in the ninth, allowing a pinch-hit, run-scoring triple by Ryan Raburn, but still earned his 14th save in 16 opportunities.

Despite only two blown saves, Rodney continually puts the team on a roller coaster during many of his save situations. That has led to some calls for replacing him.

“You know people talk about you ought to get another closer and this and that,” McClendon said. “If someone told me I could get you a closer over the next two years who saves 62 of 66 games I don’t think anyone in this room would say, don’t get that guy. Then when he blows a couple everyone wants to get another closer. I think that’s an unfair shot.”

W: Taijuan Walker (2-5)

L: Trevor Bauer (4-2)

S: Fernando Rodney (14)

HR: Seth Smith (5, 6th inning off Bauer 1 on, 1 Out)

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