Well, that was fun!
Just when it looked as if the Indians were going to lose their third straight game, some of their ninth-inning magic at Progressive Field arrived just in time, and — aided by some adventures in left field by Seattle’s Carlos Peguero — Travis Hafner blasted a two-run homer to center field with two outs off of Mariners’ closer Brandon League and the Tribe pulled out a thrilling 5-4 win in front of what used to be called a “flash crowd” of over 33,000.
Hafner’s blast came after Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera opened the ninth with consecutive doubles, both of which gave Peguero trouble and the second of which, for sure, looked as if it could have been caught had Peguero taken a better and quicker bead on it.
Be that as it may, Cabrera’s two-bagger made it 4-3 Seattle. Shin-Soo Choo moved Cabrera to third with a ground out, but then Carlos Santana also grounded out with Cabrera having to hold at third, and the Tribe was down to their last out.
That was when Hafner hit his drive well over the wall in straight-away center to touch off another home-plate celebration.
Cleveland lived by the long ball all night. In the first, Choo hit a solo blast to give the Tribe the early lead, and Brantley doubled the lead to 2-0 in the third with another solo shot.
Both homers came off of Doug Fister (2-4, 3.22 ERA), who certainly pitched well enough to win, going eight innings and allowing only four hits.
Seattle got a run back in the fifth on a Peguero bomb to make it 2-1, and the Mariners took the lead in the seventh off of Fausto Carmona with three more runs to make it 4-2 Seattle and setting up the thrilling finish.
But before we could get to that finish, Carmona got two outs and left two on in the eighth before being relieved by Tony Sipp, and Sipp was another star of this game, ending the Seattle threat in the eighth and pitching a scoreless ninth to get the win and improving to 2-0 with a 1/50 ERA.
With the blown save for the second night in a row after being beat by Baltimore on Thursday, League falls to 0-4 on the season and his ERA balloons to 7.31. It was League’s third blown save of the season overall — all in the past four days.
With the win the Indians’ lead increases to four games in the Central Division, where the Detroit Tigers took over second place tonight by beating the Kansas City Royals.
The Indians will now catch their breath before taking on the Mariners again tomorrow afternoon at 1:05, when Alex White will try to move to 2-0 in his career.