Solo homers won’t hurt too bad, unless you give up four of them in the same game. But despite a Home Run Derby performance from Seattle against Cleveland’s Carlos Carrasco, Carlos Santana provided a big drive of his own in the bottom of the eighth, as his two-run shot gave the Indians a 5-4 win over the Mariners on Saturday afternoon.
For the fifth time on the season, the Indians (18-13) found a way to outlast the Mariners (18-17) on the diamond. Seattle is now losers of six straight games and has lost five games to Cleveland by a grand total of seven runs this year. The Mariners fell to 0-12 on the season against teams with winning records, while the Indians moved to 9-4 at Progressive Field in 2019.
The Mariners reclaimed the lead at 4-3 in the top of the eighth against Carrasco on their fourth solo homer of the day and the seventh of the season from Tim Beckham. Left-hander Roenis Elias returned for a second inning of work after a perfect seventh to try to keep it a one-run game. He gave up a leadoff single to Francisco Lindor, who was sacrificed to second by Leonys Martin. Elias struck out Jose Ramirez before Seattle skipper Scott Servais came to the mound for right-hander Connor Sadzeck. The switch-hitting Santana flipped sides of the plate and saw a diet of sliders before sending another one on the 2-1 offering just to the right of center for the go-ahead two-run bomb. His fifth homer of the season put the Tribe on top, 5-4.
Brad Hand entered for the ninth, walking the leadoff hitter Edwin Encarnacion, who was lifted for a pinch-runner. Hand bounced back and struck out Jay Bruce on a pitch knee high on the outside corner for the first out. He whiffed Domingo Santana for the second out, then followed by doing the same to Omar Narvaez on a nasty slow hook on the Final Countdown.
The save for Hand was his tenth of the season. The win went to Tyler Olson, who retired the only batter that he faced to end the top of the eighth and was the pitcher of record when the Indians handled business in the bottom of the frame.
A back and forth game remained close all throughout the afternoon. Mike Leake made his second start of the season against the Indians for the Mariners, going six innings in a quality outing while not factoring in the decision. Carrasco pitched well and left in the eighth inning under 100 pitches after the go-ahead shot by Beckham and a two-out double by Mitch Haniger, but Santana played the hero to give the Indians yet another close shave against the Mariners.
The two clubs traded early single runs as the lead shifted back and forth. Carrasco struck out the side in the first, but former teammate Encarnacion took his parrot for a walk for the ninth time on the year as he blasted a 1-2 offering to the bleachers in left to give Seattle an early 1-0 lead.
Leake got the aid of a curious decision on the bases by Ramirez in the bottom of the first. The Tribe’s slumping third baseman doubled to center with two outs, but was caught trying to steal third with the team’s leading RBI man, Santana, at the plate to end the inning. In the home half of the second, Leake got the first two outs on grounders before Jason Kipnis shot a double under the glove of Encarnacion at first. Two pitches later, the Indians were on the board as Jake Bauers dropped in a single to right to tie the game at one.
Carrasco worked around a one-out single by Dylan Moore in the third with a pair of force outs at second. The Indians then got back to work as Lindor led off the bottom of the third with a solo shot to right-center to give Cleveland its first lead a 2-1.
That lead lasted just three outs. Daniel Vogelbach worked the count to 2-2 against Carrasco before crushing a changeup over the wall in right for the Mariners’ second solo shot of the day and his ninth of the season, tying the game at two.
The Indians responded against Leake with another two-out run in the bottom of the inning. After groundouts by Carlos Gonzalez and Kipnis, Bauers reached on an infield single. After he stole second in a close play, Roberto Perez singled towards Bruce in right. The throw to the plate was close, but Narvaez did not attempt a tag on Bauers and instead fired down to second where he nabbed Perez trying to sneak in a second bag. The run scored before the out, giving the Indians a 3-2 lead.
Once again, the Mariners delivered with a deep drive response. Carrasco struck out Narvaez and got Beckham to fly to left, but the nine-hitter Moore just cleared the 19-foot wall in left with his second homer of the season, tying the game up at three.
The Indians had a chance to respond in the bottom of the fifth as the Mariners threw the ball around the infield. Lindor walked with one out, but Leake attempted to pick him off of first. His throw missed Encarnacion and Lindor motored around the bases all the way to third as the ball bounced off the side wall. The relay throw to third skipped past Moore and Lindor hopped up and raced towards the plate, but the left fielder Santana, backing up the play, fired a strike to Narvaez, who tagged out a gassed Lindor in time.
Carrasco gave up a leadoff single to Haniger in the sixth, but caught him leaning and picked him off first before striking out Vogelbach. He worked an easier seventh, striking out Santana with his eighth K of the afternoon.
Leake kept the Indians at bay in his final inning of work in the sixth, giving up a one-out single to Santana before a force out and a groundout. Elias handled the seventh, getting two strikeouts and a groundout, before the Mariners got a big homer from Beckham on the second pitch of the eighth from Carrasco to reclaim the lead at 4-3. Carrasco got a strikeout of Moore and a liner from Dee Gordon to first before Haniger doubled to the left field corner. Olson relieved and got Vogelbach to fly to left before Hand finished the job in the ninth.
Carrasco worked seven and two-thirds innings in his longest start of the year. Only trouble in the eighth prevented him from going the distance as he left with 94 pitches thrown (70 for strikes). He allowed four runs, all on solo homers, on seven hits in total. He did not walk a batter and struck out nine on the day.
Leake worked six in a quality start, allowing three runs on seven hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts. Both Mariners relievers were charged with runs, as Elias took a hit as his inherited runner Lindor jogged home on the Santana slam off of Sadzeck.
Cleveland went 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position. Four of the team’s five runs scored with two outs.
The Indians will go for their second three-game sweep of the Mariners on Sunday afternoon in a 1:10 PM ET start from Progressive Field. Cody Anderson (0-0, 5.40 ERA) will get the call-up from Triple-A Columbus, with a corresponding roster move yet to be announced to move him back to the 25-man roster. The Mariners will call on rookie right-hander and Ohio native Erik Swanson (0-3, 6.62), who will make his second start of the campaign against the Indians.
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