The Cleveland Indians (22-25) bested the Seattle Mariners (23-24) on Thursday night at Safeco Field, winning 5-3 in the series opener. The M’s could not solve Corey Kluber (3-5, 3.52 ERA) tonight, and he earned his 3rd win of the season. James Paxton (3-3, 3.70 ERA) was roughed up en route to picking up the loss. Cody Allen worked a perfect 9th inning to record his 10th save of the campaign.
Tonight’s loss allowed the Los Angeles Angels to leap frog the Mariners in the American League West standings. The M’s are currently in 3rd place, 6.5 games back of the division leading Houston Astros.
May 28, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners pitcher James Paxton (65) throws against the Cleveland Indians during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Thursday was not James Paxton’s night. The Canadian southpaw was hit hard tonight, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits across 4.2 innings pitched. Paxman recorded 3 punch outs and walked 1 tonight. Only 3 of the Indians’ 4 runs were earned, but Paxton looked out of sync all evening. The 26-year-old was pulled from the game due to a middle finger ailment on his left hand. It likely was just a blister, and I would not anticipate it affecting his status going forward.
The Mariners’ bullpen fared better than Paxton tonight. Joe Beimel was the first man called upon, and he did a reasonably nice job again for Seattle. The veteran southpaw allowed 1 run on 2 hits across 2.1 innings tonight. Mark Lowe replaced Beimel in the 8th, and worked a pair of perfect innings for the M’s.
Corey Kluber was far from perfect Thursday night at The Safe, but he did enough to earn the win. Kluber beat out Felix Hernandez for the Cy Young in 2014, and he gave the M’s problems all night. The Mariners scratched across 3 runs on Kluber tonight, but he surrendered just 7 hits through 7 innings of work. The 29-year-old right-hander leads the league in strikeouts, and he added 13 more to his tally tonight. A pair of home runs proved costly to Kluber’s stat line, but they did not hurt his bottom line.
May 28, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners catcher Mike Zunino (3) is greeted by second basemanRobinson Cano
(22) and designated hitterNelson Cruz
(23) after hitting a solo home run against the Cleveland Indians during the third inning at Safeco Field. Seattle Mariners managerLloyd McClendon
(23) is at left. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Zunino was the only Mariner to really get to Kluber tonight. Mike Z smoked a 3rd inning solo home run into the bullpen, and came through with a single in the 5th. Zunino is starting to hit the ball hard constantly, and tonight’s game 2 for 4. Dustin Ackley entered tonight’s game with a .146 average over his last 36 games played. The Ack-Attack beat the odds and launched a 2-run dinger in the 6th inning to get the M’s to within 2. It was the first big fly for Ackley since April 13.
Jason Kipnis led the way for the Tribe in the series opener, finishing 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI’s. However, Kipnis was not alone in his assault on Seattle pitching. Michael Brantley, Brandon Moss and Jose Ramirez all registered 2 hits apiece, and Moss contributed a solo home run in the 2nd inning to get Cleveland on the board.
This evening’s ballgame was fairly uneventful, but there is a positive and a negative to take away from the loss. The positive; Dustin Ackley had his best game at the plate in 6 weeks. It is hard to accept for some of us, but Ackley’s Mariners career is on life support. The Ack-Attack is notoriously streaky, and hopefully tonight’s strong showing will spark another one of his famous hot streaks.
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The negative; James Paxton struggled and left due to injury. For the first time in a while, the melancholy expression tattooed on Paxton’s face seemed appropriate. It was clear he would not pitch deep into tonight’s game, but his finger injury forced him from the game in the 5th. The training staff appeared to be focusing on the joint of his left middle finger. Paxton was acting as though he had a blister on his finger, and I fully expect him to get the ball next week when the M’s battle the New York Yankees.
The Seattle Mariners (23-24) will will look to even the series with the Cleveland Indians (22-25) on Friday night at Safeco Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm from the corner of Edgar & Dave. Taijuan Walker (1-5, 7.33 ERA) will attempt to put his struggles behind him when he toes the rubber tomorrow night. Trevor Bauer (4-1, 3.02 ERA) will be tasked with stifling the Mariners’ bats on Friday. Root Sports Northwest will carry the game live, and MLB.tv subscribers can watch on connected devices.