It was almost inevitable that the Indians were going to come out flat against a last-place Seattle Mariners’ squad after a high tension weekend series vs. the Tigers. Even so, the game was there for the winning, until the ninth inning saw bad pitching and an offense come oh-so-close before failing to score.
The end result was a 3-2 Seattle win that dropped the Indians to .500 and also saw the Tribe fall 5.5 games behind Detroit.
With the loss, Cleveland falls into a tie for second place with the Chicago White Sox.
Chris Perez came into a 2-2 tie to start the ninth and immediately hit the first two batters. He then bobbled a sacrifice bunt, allowing all runners to be safe and loading the bases with nobody out.
Perez struck out Ichiro Suzuki, but gave up a sacrifice fly to former Indians Franklin Gutierrez for what proved to be the winning run. Seattle had taken a 3-2 lead without the benefit of a hit.
And, almost naturally, after the first two Indians were retired by Brandon League in the bottom of the ninth, Jack Hannahan and pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall singled, with Hannahan taking third. Chisenhall then stole second to put the tying and winning runs in scoring position.
But Ezequiel Carrera grounded to first to end a thoroughly frustrating night. And speaking of Carrera, he epitomized the Tribe's sloppiness at times tonight in the seventh inning. With one out and Carrera on first, a ground ball to first was taken to the bag for the second out, and Carrera, apparently not knowing how many outs there were, sailed around second and got caught in no man's land, eventually being tagged out for the third out, instead of being in scoring position at second.
The Tribe did go 3-for-10 with men in scoring position, as opposed to Seattle’s 0-for-8, and what this game came down to was Seattle scoring the game’s only earned run in the first inning on Suzuki’s third homer of the year.
Fausto Carmona showed toughness tonight, going six innings and giving up two runs, only one of which was earned. Rafael Perez and Vinnie Pestano got the game to the ninth before Chris Perez fell to 2-6 with his unearned run — although frankly, with two HBP and a fielding error, it was about as close to an earned unearned run as you can get.
Chance Ruffin got the win for his first decision of the year, while League earned a shaky 31st save.
Seattle took a 2-0 lead in the second when Carmona struck out Brendan Ryan but Lou Marson short-hopped a throw into center field on a steal attempt at second with Casper Wells at third. Wells scored on the error, but the Indians came right back and scored two unearned runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
Carlos Santana doubled leading off, and after Kosuke Fukudome struck out and Matt LaPorta popped out, Hannahan reached on a throwing error to put runners at the corners. Marson and Carrera each came through with two-out base hits, but that was the extent of the scoring for The Good Guys on this night.
Now both teams have a short turnaround before playing a day/night doubleheader on Tuesday, with the first game at 1:05 and the nightcap at 7:05.
Justin Masterson will go for his 11th win in the opener, while Zach McAllister gets the start in the evening, looking for his first big-league win.