Mariners Game Recap: Bullpen Struggles In M’s 5-3 Loss

Jun 9, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit (53) wipes his face after getting pulled in the eighth inning after giving up three runs against the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 9, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit (53) wipes his face after getting pulled in the eighth inning after giving up three runs against the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Mariners made it interesting in the 9th, but they ultimately came up short in the series finale against the Tribe.

The Mariners pitcher of the month in May, Nate Karns, was looking to make it three straight wins at home when he took the mound against the Cleveland Indians in the series finale on Thursday. However, his continued poor control cast doubt on a rare home series win, walking a season-tying five batters in during his short four and one-third innings on the mound. Yet it was the relievers who came in to back Karns, that failed him in the end and gave the win to the opposition.

A first frame walk set the tone for Karns’ brief stint tonight, but no further damage came out of the top half of the inning. Robinson Cano then gave the M’s starter a small cushion by blasting his 17th home run out of the park. The homer broke the second longest homer-less streak of Cano’s season at seven games- the longest has been 12 games, which happened back in mid-May.

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Through the next three innings, both teams would have threats stifled before either could score. In the second the Indians would put three runners on via two more walks by Karns and one single to load the bases, but nothing would develop beyond that. The Mariners would have their chance to score as well. In the third they put two runners on, including a double by Cano for his second hit on the evening- nothing came of that either. It was the fifth though, where Karns inaccuracy would bite him.

Two more walks from the home starter would put runners on first and second before he was dismissed and sent to the showers early. Mike Montgomery was brought on to replace Karns, and he did not fair well either. The usually reliable reliever gave up a free pass himself and also surrendered a single that brought home the tying run; the game was now 1-1. It wouldn’t be until the seventh- when the Indians had another chance to pounce on a reliever- that they would send home the leading run.

The promising youngster, Edwin Diaz, was hoping for an equally impressive outing, after he dazzled in his MLB debut, but that was not in the cards tonight. While last outing he pitched ten strikes on eleven pitches, tonight his control was not the same. This time he would walk his very first batter- his first walk of his career in the big leagues. Three batters later he would give up his first career hit- a double to Francisco Lindor– and then a subsequent single that would send in his first run allowed in his second appearance. He would manage to get out of the frame, but the it wouldn’t get much better for the next pitcher to step to the mound Joaquin Benoit.

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An Adam Lind dinger in the bottom of the seventh made it a 2-2 game, and Benoit just wanted to keep it that way. A walk to Rajai Davis was followed by a Tyler Naquin two-run shot over the wall to give the Indians back the lead in what would be a three-run eighth inning for the visitors. The Mariners would fight back to get one of those runs back off Cano’s second home run- and third hit- of the game.

Cody Allen would come into the game in the eighth to record a four-out save, and he would barely do so. He did get through the eighth with ease but in the ninth the Mariners (and their fans) put on their really caps, getting two runners on base on two singles from Nori Aoki and Chris Iannetta. Then Cano stepped to the plate with two outs to play the role of super hero, attempting to hit a walk-off home run that would be his third of the game. It was not to be for the soon-to-be all-star. He would strikeout to end the ball game at the score 5-3 in favor of the Indians.

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The four game series would end in a stale mate (2-2) with the lose; an important moment, seeing that the Mariners start a must-win June series tomorrow against their division rivals, the Texas Rangers who are pulling away from the pack in the American League West.