Kind of a good news/bad news sort of afternoon and evening at Progressive Field today.
First to the bad news. The Seattle Mariners exploded for nine runs in the third inning, and cruised to a rain-shortened 12-6 victory that once again dropped the Indians below .500.
The good news is that the bullpen was saved what no doubt would have been a wasted two innings of work, which matters since the pen had to go over four innings this afternoon, with a day/night doubleheader coming up against the White Sox tomorrow.
The Tribe got off to a fast start in the first inning, getting home run no. 23 with one out and one on from Asdrubal Cabrera, followed by Carlos Santana’s 26th to give the Indians a 3-0 lead.
Santana’s homer gave him the club record for most home runs in one season by a pinch-hitter, breaking the tie Carlos had been in with Victor Martinez.
Seattle touched David Huff for two runs in the second on Alex Liddi’s first career homer to cut the lead to one, but the Indians answered with a run in their half when Cabrera’s double to left scored Jason Donald.
The came the third. The strike zone had been a little squeezed, and Huff was throwing a lot of pitches straight over the heart of the plate. The Mariners took advantage.
Lonnie Chisenhall’s error to begin the inning opened the doors. Mike Carp doubled to cut the lead to 4-3, and with one out, Kyle Seager tied the game with a single. A walk and a single then loaded the bases, before Trayvon Robinson gave the Mariners a lead they would never relinquish with a two-run single. Huff could not finish the inning after getting the second out, allowing an RBI double to Ichiro Suzuki.
Chad Durbin came on, walked a hitter and then gave up a grand slam to Carp, and this one was as good as over at 11-4.
The Tribe did manage to cut it to 11-6 in the bottom of the fifth when Travis Hafner’s single scored Cabrera and Santana. Seattle then added the final run of the day in the top of the sixth off of Frank Herrmann on a Wily Mo Pena RBI single.
Huff surrendered nine runs (but only five earned) in just 2.2 innings of work in falling to 2-6. In his last two starts, Huff has been victimized by nine unearned runs.
Charlie Furbush earned the victory to move to 4-9. Furbush did not exactly excel, giving up 10 hits and six runs, but with that big early lead, he did not have to be too sharp. Josh Lueke worked two scoreless innings to wind up finishing the day’s pitching for the Mariners.
Chicago will come to town a game and a half behind the Indians in the "battle" for second place in the AL Central. The first came of tomorrow’s doubleheader will start (hopefully) at 1:05, with the nightcap coming at 7:05.
Oh, and one more thing that may have gotten lost in the mist — today’s loss officially eliminated the Tribe from contention for the American League Wild Card.