The Seattle Mariners (26-32) won the series opener with the Cleveland Indians (27-30) Tuesday night, winning 3-2 in front of a sparse crowd at Progressive field. Roenis Elias (3-3, 2.79 ERA) added yet another quality start to his tally this season, and notched his 3rd victory in the process. Corey Kluber (3-7, 3.53 ERA) did not look comfortable all night, and was credited with his 7th loss. Carson Smith allowed a leadoff home run in the 9th, but recovered to record his 2nd save of the season.
Roenis Elias has been the unsung hero of the 2015 season for the Seattle Mariners. Elias allowed 1 run on 5 hits across 6 innings pitched tonight in Cleveland. The 26-year-old southpaw struck out 3 and issued 2 free passes. Elias struggled with his command tonight, and just 46 of his 84 pitches found the strike zone. While it may not have been his most dominant outing, Elias always looked confident in himself tonight.
The Mariners received a strong performance from their bullpen tonight. Seattle used 4 relievers in total, and allowed just 1 run on 3 hits across 3 innings. Charlie Furbush was the standout, pitching a perfect 8th inning for his 9th hold of the season. Carson Smith was inserted as the M’s closer on Saturday, and he is now 2 for 2 in save opportunities. Smitty stumbled in the early going this evening, but a visit from Lloyd McClendon really seemed to settle his nerves.
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Corey Kluber beat out Felix Hernandez for the 2014 American League Cy Young, but you never would have known it tonight. Kluber allowed a pair of runs on 7 hits across 7 innings of work. The 29-year-old right-hander struck out 4 M’s tonight, and walked 3. While tonight’s outing will go down in the books as a quality start, Kluber did not look like himself. If he were facing any other team, Kluber likely would have surrendered at least 4 runs tonight. The Tribe’s ace is having a hard time duplicating his phenomenal 2014 season, and after tonight’s loss, he sports a 3-7 record.
The Mariners’ bats were able to record 10 hits tonight, but Seattle was able to push across just 3 runs. 6 of the 9 M’s starters tallied at least 1 hit, and 4 registered multi-hit games. Robinson Cano broke out of 2 for 17 spell in the 1st inning when he doubled home Austin Jackson. Robby finished the game 2 for 4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI. Logan Morrison did a nice job hitting out of the leadoff spot, going 2 for 5 with an RBI double. Seth Smith drove in the other Mariners’ run in the 8th inning when he singled home Dustin Ackley on a line drive to right field.
Yan Gomes was the Cleveland Indians’ offense tonight. The Brazilian born backstop accounted for both Indians’ runs by clubbing 2 solo home runs. Gomes is having a rough season in 2015, and tonight’s dingers were his first of the year. I have always had a soft spot for Nick Swisher, but he had an abysmal night on Tuesday for the Tribe. Swisher grounded into a double play, stranded 5 runners on base and finished 0 for 4 on the night.
The big story line tonight occurred in the top of the 5th inning. Nelson Cruz was at the plate facing Kluber, and appeared to tweak his back after hitting a foul ball. Cruz was immediately taken out of the game, and appeared to be in some discomfort. The Mariners have officially stated that Cruz was pulled due to back spasms. Hopefully, the 34-year-old slugger is able to recover quickly from this injury as he has been the entire Mariners’ offense for much of the season. Cruz is hitting .326 on the year with an AL leading 18 home runs and 39 RBI’s. Seattle will be hard pressed to turn their season around if they have to be without Cruz for an extended period of time.
Tonight’s win was very important for the M’s. Not only does it give them confidence going forward, but it also allowed them to inch closer to the American League West leading, Houston Astros. Seattle remains in 4th place in the AL West, but now trail the Astros by just 7 games.
The Seattle Mariners (26-32) will look to win the series against the Cleveland Indians (27-30) on Wednesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PT from Progressive Field in Cleveland. Taijuan Walker (2-6, 5.80 ERA) has pitched 8 innings in each of his last 2 outings, and he will toe the rubber for the M’s tomorrow night. Trevor Bauer (5-2, 2.94 ERA) will get the ball for the Tribe as they hope to even the series. Root Sports Northwest will carry the game live, and MLB.com subscribers can watch on connected devices.