Seattle southpaw Wade Miley stifled the Cleveland lineup on Tuesday night, allowing just one run in seven innings of work as the Mariners ended the Indians’ six-game winning streak with a 7-1 win.
The Mariners would get all of the runs they would need in the bottom of the first with a big two-out swing against spot starter Cody Anderson. Seth Smith lined a double off of the wall in right, but upon a Cleveland challenge, it was ruled that Lonnie Chisenhall’s throw was in time to erase the Mariners outfielder. Robinson Cano worked the count full before singling to right and then the long ball that has plagued Anderson all year long bit back again as Nelson Cruz hit a towering drive to left to give Seattle a 2-0 lead.
It was more than enough for the lefty Miley, who kept the Indians at bay by facing the minimum in four of his seven innings on the mound. He also was aided by some defensive work, as a leadoff single by Mike Napoli was erased on a double play ball from Carlos Santana in the second. In the fourth, after a five-pitch walk by Jason Kipnis, the Tribe’s second baseman was caught stealing by plenty with Francisco Lindor at the plate. Lindor would walk two pitches later and move to second with two outs on a single to right by Santana, but the duo would move no further as Jose Ramirez grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the semi-threat.
The game got away from Anderson and the Tribe in the bottom of the fourth on a rare mental error by Lindor. Anderson gave up a leadoff single to Cano before retiring Cruz swinging and Kyle Seager on a liner to right. Dae-Ho Lee followed with a walk to put two on with two outs and things took a turn from bad to worse. Adam Lind grounded a ball to Lindor up the middle. The Indians shortstop looked towards first, then attempted to flip to Kipnis for the force at second, but could not complete the toss. Lindor then hurriedly fired to Napoli at first, but Lind beat the throw. Seattle immediately cashed in, as Steve Clevenger doubled to right, scoring both Cano and Lee to make it a 4-0 game. Shawn O’Malley then tripled to left, clearing the bases of both base runners to make it a 6-0 score while ending Anderson’s outing. Tom Gorzelanny relieved and on one pitch got Nori Aoki to fly to center to end the onslaught.
Cruz added a second home run in the fifth, rudely welcoming new reliever Jeff Manship to the mound with a big center field blast to the deepest part of Safeco Field.
With the big lead, Miley would allow just one more base runner, a leadoff single in the fifth from Chris Gimenez. He would move up to second on a passed ball with one out, but would be stranded there. Miley retired the final eight he faced in order.
Cleveland kept the score where it was with double play balls to diffuse any additional Seattle scoring threats in the sixth and seventh innings before the Indians finally touched the scoreboard in the top of the eighth.
Joaquin Benoit took over for Miley on the mound and after a pop up from Juan Uribe, Chisenhall hit a homer to right on the first pitch of his at bat to make it 7-1. Benoit would retired the next two and Steve Cishek would retire three straight in the ninth after a leadoff single from Lindor.
The six-game winning streak came to an end for the Indians (32-25), who did not give up too much ground in the American League Central Division thanks to losses by both Kansas City and Chicago. Detroit and Minnesota each won in walk-off fashion, so the Tigers have moved within two and a half games of the Indians and sit in second place, tied with the Royals.
The Mariners (32-26) ended their four-game losing skid with their win, evening up the series at one game a piece with two more to play. They trail the Texas Rangers by four games in the AL West.
Miley (6-2, 5.27 ERA) bounced back from an ugly nine-run start in his last outing, a 16-13 win by the Mariners in San Diego. He lasted just four and two-thirds innings in that outing. He was also much improved compared to his first start of the season against Cleveland, where he lasted just three and two-thirds innings and allowed three runs on nine hits and walked four batters while taking his second loss of the season.
He gave the Mariners seven shutout innings on Tuesday, issuing a pair of walks to go with four hits allowed. He struck out three and threw 101 pitches on the night, the most he has made in a game since April 30.
“He kept us off balance. He added and subtracted. He pitched a really good game,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “He worked quick, he threw strikes, and for the most part kept us off the barrel and when we did, he kept it in the big part of the ball park.”
CRUZ CRUSHES TWO
Seattle slugger Cruz tried to keep pace with the other big boppers in the American League Tuesday, as both Mark Trumbo and Todd Frazier added to their individual tallies at the top of the home run leaderboard. Cruz launched number 14 in the first inning off of Anderson, a two-run shot, and number 15 in the fifth off of Manship with two outs.
He was 2-for-3 on the night with a walk, a strikeout, two runs scored, and three runs batted in, pushing his batting average to .294 for the season.
It was the 18th career multi-homer game for Cruz and his first since July 22, 2015, against Detroit.
SPOTTY SPOT START FOR ANDERSON
Anderson (1-4, 7.48), who had looked much improved in his last outing for the Indians at the end of May against the Chicago White Sox and in a pair of starts at Triple-A Columbus, unraveled after the mental error from Lindor in the fourth.
“We get into the fourth, we got what we thought the inning over with a ground ball to Frankie and, it looked to me like he looked to first, then looked to second, and then by the time he went to first it was too late. It’s unfortunate,” said Francona. “You give teams extra opportunities and a lot of times, not-so-good things happen. He elevated a changeup and a fastball and they tacked on four, and boy, that really hurt.”
Anderson was charged with six runs on seven hits in three and two-thirds innings, striking out five and walking one. The home run was again costly for the big right-hander, who has now given up eleven homers on the season in nine games (eight starts).
GOMES EXITS EARLY
Tribe catcher Yan Gomes left in the second inning with what was later described as a testicular contusion after being struck in the midsection by a foul tip off of the bat of Lee. He was taken to an area hospital for an ultrasound.
“We sent him to the hospital to get an ultrasound,” said Francona in his postgame interview. “He’s still there. He hasn’t had the ultrasound yet. Hopefully we’ll get something here fairly soon. I don’t think he’s probably having the best night of his life.”
Baltimore backup catcher Caleb Joseph recently suffered a similar injury on a foul tip on May 30 against the Boston Red Sox. The nature of his injury was severe and actually required surgery, landing him on the disabled list.
If the situation for Gomes requires a DL trip, backup catcher Roberto Perez is still out on the 60-day disabled list. The Indians would then have to consider Adam Moore or Guillermo Quiroz, catchers for Triple-A Columbus who are not on the 40-man roster, or look to make a swift acquisition elsewhere.
CHISENHALL HITTING NINTH WITH A MULTI-HIT GAME
Getting the start in right field against the left-hander Miley due to the suspension of Marlon Byrd, Chisenhall hit ninth and supplied the only real offense of the game for the Indians. He was 2-for-3 with a double and solo homer, accounting for two of the Tribe’s six hits on the night.
INDIANS STARTERS DURING THEIR SIX-GAME WIN STREAK
Cleveland starters were a big reason for the Indians’ success during their now completed six-game winning streak. The staff allowed nine runs (all earned) in 40 innings of work, posting a 4-0 record with a 2.03 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. They allowed 30 hits (three home runs) and walked 13 while striking out 37 batters. Trevor Bauer earned a pair of those wins, striking out 16 batters in 14 2/3 innings.
In order to make room on the 25-man roster for the addition of the spot starter Anderson, the Indians optioned reliever Austin Adams to Triple-A Columbus. His move had been anticipated since Monday, when it was believed he was going to be optioned for Joba Chamberlain until the right shoulder fatigue of Danny Salazar sidelined the Tribe’s hot starter.
Anderson will once again return to Columbus following the game. Chamberlain is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list as a corresponding move.
Carlos Carrasco (2-0, 3.00) will look to get the Indians back on track in game three of their ten-game road trip through the west coast and the midwest. Taijuan Walker (2-6, 3.94) will oppose for the home team Mariners and look to end a rough stretch on the mound. He is 0-6 with a 5.77 ERA in his last seven starts after going 2-0 in four starts in April.
Game time from Safeco Field is scheduled for 10:10 PM ET.
Photo: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren