A Sound Of Thunder: Hafner Slam, Three Tribe Homers Blast Mariners, 9-1

In return from disabled list, Hafner's bomb keys seven-run seventh; Nix and Brantley also go deep to win series finale.

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Masterson Goes Six Scoreless, Tony Sipp Benefits From Seventh-Inning Eruption To Beat Seattle

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – Travis Hafner was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game and paid immediate dividends with a grand slam as part of a seven-run seventh inning, as the Cleveland Indians handled the Seattle Mariners, 9-1, in the finale of a three-game series at Progressive Field.

Michael Brantley cracked a two-run homer and Jayson Nix chipped in with a solo shot for the Indians, who had dropped six of seven coming into the contest.

Tony Sipp (2-2) was credited with the win for working a perfect top of the seventh. Indians starter Justin Masterson, a loser of three of his previous four starts coming in, threw six shutout innings, allowing one hit and six walks while striking out three.

Franklin Gutierrez provided the only offense with an RBI single for Seattle, which had won six of eight entering the series finale.

Felix Hernandez (8-10) was the hard-luck loser for giving up six unearned runs on six hits. The big right-hander, who tossed eight shutout innings and fanned 13 in a victory over Oakland on Tuesday, walked four and struck out seven.

Starting pitching dictated the first four innings before Seattle mounted a threat in the fifth. Casey Kotchman doubled off Masterson for the first hit of the game leading off the fifth and the Mariners proceeded to load the bases with one out. However, Ichiro Suzuki lined out to first and Chone Figgins was retired on a bunt attempt to first base that ended the inning.

In the home fifth, Lou Marson reached with a two-out double to break up Hernandez’s no-hit bid, but was left stranded when Brantley bounced out to third.

Each side stranded a runner in the sixth, and Sipp took over for Masterson in the seventh and retired the side in quick order.

Cleveland then opened the scoring with seven two-out runs in the bottom portion. After Hernandez set down the first two batters, Figgins’ throwing error at second base allowed Luis Valbuena to reach and opened the flood gates. Marson followed with a base hit that put runners on the corners, and Brantley’s sharp single to center brought in the first run of the game.

Asdrubal Cabrera chased in another with a double to right-center and after Shin-Soo Choo was walked intentionally, Hafner cracked a 2-1 sinker over the wall in right-center to make it 6-0. Sean White entered and served up a solo shot to Nix.

Gutierrez got the Mariners on the board with a two-out infield single in the eighth. However, Brantley’s two-run homer into the right field seats in the bottom half increased the Tribe’s lead to 9-1.

Chris Perez worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning to polish off the victory.

Cleveland optioned outfielder Jordan Brown to Triple-A Columbus prior to the game to make room on the roster for Hafner…Cleveland won six of 10 against Seattle last year…Despite the loss, the Mariners won their first road series since June 29-July 1 against the New York Yankees.


Masterson Looks To Avoid Seattle Sweep Against Mariners' Ace

(Sports Network) - Two last-place teams will do battle this afternoon in the series finale of a three-game set at Progressive Field, where the Cleveland Indians will host the Seattle Mariners.

Seattle, which is currently in the bottom spot of the AL West, has won the first two games of this series. On Saturday, Josh Bard's first career grand slam capped a five-run fifth inning that helped the Mariners pummel the Indians, 9-3.

Bard had a season-high four hits and scored twice for the Mariners, who won their first road series since June 29-July 1 against the Yankees. They had lost their last four series away from Safeco Field.

Russell Branyan and Casey Kotchman also homered as Seattle recorded its highest offensive output since scoring 15 runs on May 21. Starting pitcher Jason Vargas (9-5) lasted seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks while fanning four.

Jayson Nix homered and drove in two runs for the Indians, who have lost six of seven. Asdrubal Cabrera added two hits and a run scored in defeat.

Mitch Talbot (8-10), who was activated off the disabled list earlier Saturday, gave up six runs -- four earned -- on eight hits and three walks in four-plus innings for Cleveland to receive the loss.

In hopes of recording a sweep, Seattle will turn to its best pitcher in Felix Hernandez this afternoon. The hard-throwing right-hander snapped a three-game slide with an outstanding victory over Oakland earlier this week.

The young hurler was dominant in Tuesday's win over the A's, striking out 13 batters in eight scoreless innings. Hernandez walked just one batter and scattered five hits in the win.

Hernandez has posted a solid 2.99 earned run average on the road this season, but that has not translated into many victories, as the Mariners' prized pitcher is just 2-5 away from home.

In seven career outings against Cleveland, Hernandez has posted a 3-2 ledger with a 3.71 ERA.

As for the Indians, they will turn to Justin Masterson, who has dropped three of his last four starts. The most recent setback for the young hurler came Monday against Baltimore.

In that setback Masterson surrendered seven runs -- four earned -- on six hits in five innings. It was the 11th loss on the year for the San Diego State product, who comes into this matchup with a poor 5.47 earned run average.

In front of Cleveland fans, the 25-year-old is just 2-5 with a 4.18 earned run average in 10 starts. However, in five career appearances (two starts) against the Mariners, Masterson has been outstanding, allowing three runs in over 17 innings of duty. He has only walked four batters and recorded 16 strikeouts in that time.

Friday's series opener was the first meeting between the teams this season. Cleveland won six of 10 against Seattle last year.

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