The Cleveland Indians stole another game in the Pacific Northwest later Thursday night, escaping Seattle with a series win over the Mariners. Seattle starter Felix Hernandez mowed down the Tribe lineup, but the Indians pounced as soon as he was yanked by Eric Wedge in the top of the 9th. Hernandez struck out 12 Indians, with the Tribe never really threatening until the 8th inning. King Felix got out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the 8th by quickly striking out Jason Kipnis and Shin-Soo Choo to end the inning. Trailing 1-0, it looked like the Indians would plate the winning run on a bouncer to the right side by Michael Brantley, but Dustin Ackley just caught a piece of it, knocking it down and keeping it in the infield to hold Jack Hannahan at third. Hernandez would then blow it by Kipnis and Choo to end the threat.
But Wedge went to closer Brandon League in the 9th, and the Indians immediately put together a rally. Carlos Santana, who was the one hitter to get a hold of a Hernandez pitch all night, drew a lead-off walk. Travis Hafner, who ripped two homers off League last year, battled with a two-strike count, held his hands back and ripped a loud single to right. Casey Kotchman, who had not put down a sac bunt in ages, moved the runners over with a perfectly placed sacrifice between League and Kyle Seager. With the bases loaded after a Shelley Duncan walk, Jack Hannahan came through with a single in the hole to left that brought home Santana and Aaron Cunningham, who was running for Hafner. That's all the Tribe would need.
The two runs held up because of the amazing work done by Josh Tomlin, who nearly matched Felix with an eight inning, seven strikeout performance. Tomlin was fantastic all evening, working quickly and finishing strong with a by blowing one by the final batter he faced. Both pitchers deserved the win, but the Tribe's 9th inning rally set the stage for Chris Perez to come on, save it, and reward Tomlin's work. And unlike Tuesday's eventful finish, Perez slammed the door with a quick inning. It was a great finish, putting the Tribe at 5-1 on this road trip that now moves to Oakland on Friday night.