The Indians took the lead on the first batter of the afternoon and never looked back on Saturday as Cleveland used four long balls to defeat the Seattle Mariners by an 11-4 final.
The game was a bit closer than the final score implied as it was still a two-run contest in the sixth when Carlos Carrasco exited one of his final starts of the regular season. With Seattle on the board for the first time in the sixth, the Indians responded by putting up eight runs over the final three innings to erase all doubt. Seattle did not help its cause throughout the contest, committing five errors and several other blunders that could have easily joined them on the stat sheet.
The Mariners sent rookie right-hander Andrew Moore to the mound to make his first career appearance against Cleveland and eleventh of his big league career. He would be in trouble right away as leadoff hitter Francisco Lindor started the game by working the count full before pulling a fastball over the wall in right for a solo home run to put the Indians up early.
Carrasco started out strong for the Tribe, striking out three in the first around a one-out walk drawn by Mitch Haniger. The Indians’ number two starter would work easily through the second, getting three straight ground ball outs on the right side of the infield before his offense gave him a couple more runs to work with.
After Moore got a strikeout of Erik Gonzalez to start the third, Lindor doubled to right. Austin Jackson singled to center, freezing Lindor in his tracks initially to avoid being hit by the batted ball before he turned it on and motored home. There was an error on the relay throw to the plate, allowing Jackson to head towards second, and catcher Mike Zunino’s throw to the bag also resulted in an error, allowing Jackson to advance to third. Jose Ramirez drove him home easily from there, sending Moore’s full count offering deep to right field for a sacrifice fly, extending the Cleveland lead to 3-0.
Carrasco allowed a pair of hits in the bottom of the third, but got a double play ball to minimize the damage. The Mariners would threaten again in the fourth, getting a one-out walk by Kyle Seager and a two-out double to right-center by Ben Gamel, but with the tying run coming to the plate in Zunino, he could not deliver and instead flied to center to end the inning.
The Indians were dealt what is hopefully a minor blow in the fifth. After Jackson and Ramirez each singled with two outs, Jay Bruce fouled a pitch off of his leg. He would strike out swinging to strand the pair and would come out of the game prior to the bottom half of the frame for precautionary reasons with what was described as left heel discomfort.
Carrasco worked a quiet fifth and the Indians again stranded two base runners in the top half of the sixth after another Seattle error and a Giovanny Urshela single put two on with two outs before a strikeout by Gonzalez against reliever Marco Gonzales. The Mariners would then strike for their first run as Nelson Cruz singled with one out and scored on a double by Seager to make it a 3-1 game. Andrew Miller would relieve Carrasco with two outs and walked the first two men that he faced, but he struck out Guillermo Heredia with the bases loaded to leave the lead at two.
The Indians would make the Mariners suffer for their missed opportunity in the bottom of the sixth. Lindor led off the seventh against reliever Dan Altavilla by reaching on an error at first by Yonder Alonso. He moved to third on a double by Jackson and scored on a sacrifice fly by Ramirez, his second of the game. Jackson alertly advanced to third on the throw, which came up big as Greg Allen lofted another fly ball to right to score Jackson to make it a 5-1 ball game.
Yan Gomes added to the Indians lead in the eighth. With a 2-0 count, he drove a fastball to left that cleared the wall to push the Tribe advantage to 6-1. Cruz tried to keep things close for the Mariners in the home half of the inning, matching Gomes’ homer with one of his own off of Indians reliever Nick Goody. The blast gave him homers in each of the last four games and cut the deficit to 6-2.
Still a close ball game, the Indians erased all doubt in the ninth against Ariel Miranda. Jackson walked to lead off and trotted home on a two-run blast by Ramirez, giving him four RBI on the afternoon. Allen singled and pinch-hitter Yandy Diaz reached on an infield single. Tyler Naquin grounded into a force at second, but in his second at bat in as many innings, Gomes went yard again. His three-run shot, giving him a pair on the day and four RBI of his own, pushed Cleveland’s lead to 11-2.
In garbage time, the Mariners would scratch out two runs off of Dan Otero. Zunino singled to left and pinch-hitter Dan Vogelbach singled to right. The third straight hit to start the inning, a single to right by Taylor Motter, scored Zunino. Haniger grounded into a double play before Robinson Cano singled Motter in. Otero finally ended the game with a strikeout looking of Cruz.
The Mariners’ (75-80) elimination number for the AL Wild Card’s second spot shrank to three, with the possibility of it being reduced another game pending the outcome of the matchup between the Minnesota Twins and Detroit Tigers, which was not yet completed at the time of this story. The New York Yankees, however, clinched the first AL Wild Card spot with a win earlier in the day over Toronto.
The Indians (97-58) ended another lengthy one-game losing streak with a good bounce-back win. The win pushed the Tribe to 52-28 on the road this season, matching the 1954 Indians for the most road wins in a season in the history of the franchise.
Carrasco (17-8) joined teammates Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer atop the AL leaderboard for wins while making the Indians the only team in baseball with three 17-game winners (only four other players in total across the other 29 teams have even reached that plateau). Carrasco lasted five and two-thirds innings before turning the game over to Miller, giving up a run on six hits with a pair of walks and six strikeouts. The victory was his eleventh of the year away from home.
Moore (1-5) lasted just four innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts on the afternoon.
The top of the order provided big for Cleveland on Saturday. Lindor, Jackson, and Ramirez combined to go 8-for-12 at the plate with six runs batted in and seven runs scored. Jackson had three hits, drew a walk, knocked in a run, and scored three times. Ramirez had three hits and two sacrifice flies while driving in four. Gomes joined the pair with his own three-hit game, hitting his 12th and 13th homers of the season. Lindor had two hits while scoring three times, hitting his 41st double and 33rd homer while working as the designated hitter. He now has 87 RBI on the season, while Ramirez has moved to 80.
The Tribe will play its final road game of the regular season in Sunday’s 4:10 PM ET start from Safeco Field. Cleveland right-hander and Cy Young leader Kluber (17-4, 2.35 ERA) will take the ball for the Indians, looking to establish a new franchise record for road wins in a season while hoping to build on a personal five-game winning streak and a lengthy scoreless stretch on the mound. The Mariners will send righty Mike Leake (10-12, 3.91) to the rubber for his fifth start with Seattle since being acquired prior to the trade deadline at the end of August.
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