The Seattle Mariners used a five-run second inning off of struggling starter Josh Tomlin to take a significant lead and never looked back as they completed their second series win over the Indians with a 10-4 victory in Cleveland on Sunday afternoon.
On a day shrouded by the events happening next door at Quicken Loans Arena where the Cleveland Cavaliers hosted and defeated the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Indians fell in an early hole and could not scratch all the way back before the Mariners blew the game open with five runs in the back half of the contest.
Tomlin’s trouble on the mound continued Sunday as he looked to bounce back from a rough start against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, allowing four home runs and five runs total. Tomlin would be tagged for six more runs against the Mariners, with two more long balls and ten total hits surrendered along the way.
Seattle threatened in the first, as Dee Gordon led off the game with a single and moved to second two outs later on a hit by pitch of Nelson Cruz, but Tomlin escaped unharmed.
The Indians had a chance to do damage from the start against left-hander Marco Gonzales, but once again could not manufacture runs when opportunity presented. Francisco Lindor walked to start the home half, but Bradley Zimmer popped up a bunt, with the miscue turning into a double play. Jose Ramirez and Michael Brantley followed with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners, but Edwin Encarnacion grounded out to third to leave a pair on base.
The Mariners would rip five hits in the second off of Tomlin to take a giant lead. Mitch Haniger singled to start the inning before a pair of outs in the air. Number nine hitter Ryon Healy’s big day began with a double to left, plating Haniger with the game’s first run. The hit parade continued as Gordon recorded his second hit of the game with an RBI-single. He scored on a single by Jean Segura to make it 3-0, and a two-out, two-run home run by Robinson Cano made it a 5-0 game.
The Indians would respond with a pair of big hits in the bottom of the second. Yan Gomes doubled to right with one out and Brandon Guyer caught a sinker up in the zone and parked it in the bleachers for a two-run shot, his second of the year. Gonzales would retire the next two, but the Indians had cut the deficit to 5-2.
Tomlin settled it, setting down the side in order with a pair of strikeouts in the third and working around a two-out infield single by Gordon, his third hit in four innings. The Indians missed their own chance in the third, stranding a one-out double from Ramirez, before a three-up, three-down fourth.
Both clubs left a base runner in the fifth before the Mariners added to their lead in the sixth. With two outs, Healy stepped to the plate and provided another big swing off of Tomlin, jumping on the first pitch and sending it 411 feet to the bleachers to make it 6-2.
Tomlin and Gonzales each exited after six, with two different outings to their credits. After a six-pitch inning in relief from Tyler Olson, the Indians saw their first relief pitcher of the game from Seattle in Dan Altavilla. The right-hander had a hard time finding the strike zone, hitting Gomes with a pitch before striking out Guyer. Jason Kipnis pinch-hit for Erik Gonzalez and drew a walk. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch before Lindor walked on five pitches to load the bases, bringing manager Scott Servais out of the dugout for James Pazos. He struck out Zimmer swinging for the second out before Ramirez sent a drive to deep left. Ben Gamel made what was initially ruled as a diving catch for the final out, but the replay readily showed that the ball scooted away from the left fielder on the warning track. With the out call overturned, Gomes and Kipnis were granted home plate and Lindor was assigned to third on the two-run double for Ramirez, even though Lindor would have likely scored from first on the hit had it been called correctly on the field. Brantley grounded back to the mound to strand the tying runs on base, leaving it a 6-4 score.
Nick Goody took over on the mound for Olson and could not contain the game at two. Haniger tripled to start the inning and Gamel drove him in with a one-out single. Healy followed with his third hit of the day, a mammoth two-run home run to make it a 9-4 Mariners lead. Goody would put two more on before working out of the jam, but the damage was done.
Seattle tacked on one more in the ninth off of Zach McAllister, as Haniger came through with a solo homer down an exit tunnel in the bleachers to make it 10-4.
The Mariners bullpen completed their victory, with Juan Nicasio and Edwin Diaz pitching scoreless innings. Seattle improved to 16-11 with the win and took the season series from the Indians, five games to two. Cleveland fell to 14-12 on the season and 8-6 at home. They are now just 2-4 during their current 11-game homestand.
Tomlin took the loss for the Tribe with another rough go. If there was a positive to be found in the defeat, it was that he spared the Indians bullpen a second straight afternoon of extensive usage by pulling himself together and gutting out six innings of work. He was charged with six runs on ten hits on the day with three strikeouts and no walks. As has been the case, the long ball was an issue for the right-hander, who allowed two more and has given up ten in 18 2/3 innings of work this season.
Behind him, the three who entered combined for little improvement. After the scoreless inning from Olson, Goody and McAllister combined to work two innings, allowing four runs on four hits with a walk, two homers allowed, and three strikeouts.
Gonzales was backed by an early lead as the Mariners put up a similar performance as the night before. He improved to 3-2 on the season with six innings of quality baseball, allowing two runs on six hits with a walk and four strikeouts.
The M’s got key performances from spots scattered all throughout the lineup. Gordon went 4-for-5, retired only in his final trip to the plate in a close play at first base. He singled four times, drove in a run, and scored once. Haniger and Healy each had three-hit games and left the yard. Haniger was 3-for-5, scored three runs, and fell a double short of the cycle. Healy was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and four runs driven in, hitting his second double and both his second and third homers of the season in the win.
The Indians once again could not come through with runners in scoring position, going 2-for-8 in the game. Ramirez had three hits, giving him four in the series after starting the season 0-for-23 against the Mariners. Gomes had a two-hit game and scored twice. Guyer drove in a pair with his second homer of the homestand.
The Mariners will head back home and return to action on Tuesday, but the Indians will get right back to work on Monday night when they host the Texas Rangers in a three-game series. Trevor Bauer (2-2, 2.41 ERA) will start for the Tribe against Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels (1-4, 4.41).
First pitch from Progressive Field is scheduled for 6:10 PM ET.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images