Josh Tomlin, for the first time in his career, did not make it out of the fifth inning today, as the Seattle Mariners broke out for four runs in the frame to snap a 2-2 tie on their way to a 9-2 victory that dropped the Indians under .500 for the first time since they were 1-2.
Reigning American League Cy Young Award-winner Felix Hernandez worked six innings and accumulated 10 of Seattle’s 16 Ks to cruise to his 12th win of the season, while Tomlin fell to 12-7, with Josh’s ERA climbing to 4.25.
Even Seattle’s four errors were not enough for an Indians team missing Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera. Choo has soreness in his left side, seemingly sustained on a checked-swing on Tuesday night, while Cabrera, it is assumed, was given a day off. And to add a troubling finish to the day, Carlos Santana was pulled in the top of the ninth after taking a foul ball off of his mask. No word as of yet on what the latest in an endless litany of physical problems for the Tribe might be.
The Indians dented the plate first, in the bottom of the third, when Ezequiel Carrera led off with a drag-bunt base hit, stole second, and moved to third on a long fly out from Cord Phelps. After Carlos Santana struck out, Shelley Duncan (filling in for last-minute scratch Choo) bailed Santana out with a single up the middle that ticked off the second-baseman’s glove to put the Tribe up 1-0.
Seattle came right back and took the lead in the top of the fourth when Wily Mo Pena blasted a two-run homer to dead center off of Tomlin to give the Mariners the lead at 2-1.
Here came Seattle again in the fifth. A pair of singles leading off and a strike out/wild pitch put runners at the corners. Tomlin got the second out on a tough pop out to short right gathered in by Phelps, but Miguel Olivo singled, and the Mariners were once again up at 3-2.
Then Pena struck again, delivering a two-run double to give him four RBI on the day, and Seattle was up 6-2.
After the Pena hit, for the first time in 38 career starts, Tomlin was pulled without completing the fifth inning, as Joe Smith came on to try to end the damage and keep the game somewhat within reach.
Smith did the job, but in the bottom of the inning, the Tribe got a runner to third with one out and failed to score. Then in the bottom of the sixth, Cleveland stranded two more at the corners when Carrera fanned to end the inning, taking whatever steam might still have existed out of the short-handed Indians.
The Mariners tacked on three more in the seventh off of Rafael Perez to basically put the game away at 9-2, making the remaining two and a half innings about stats instead of about maybe winning.
Seattle managed 16 hits to give the visitors 44 hits in the final three games of the series, and only Choo’s walk-off homer in the first game on Tuesday kept the Mariners from sweeping this series.
The Tribe gets a day off tomorrow — one of only two scheduled for the rest of this season — before entertaining the Kansas City Royals at Progressive Field on Friday night.