Bauer struggles lead to Mariners 5-2 win over Indians
Tribe bats go sour against Iwakuma; team has now dropped seven of nine
CLEVELAND—It’s always good to take advantage of what’s in front of you.
Seattle and third baseman Kyle Seager did just that against an Indians team which continues its search for consistency.
Back at Progressive Field Tuesday for the first time in over two weeks, the Mariners took down the Tribe, 5-2, in what became Trevor Bauer’s worst start of the season.
The right-hander surrendered five runs on eight hits in just 4 1/3 innings, marking his shortest home start in his career.
“He started out pretty good, but the second time through he got into some fastball counts and kind of paid for it,” manager Terry Francona said.
Bauer (4-6, 4.25 ERA) came into the ballgame having tossed at least six innings in each of his seven home starts this year.
“I didn’t command the ball too well,” Bauer said. “I think I was just behind too much. When you don’t get ahead, they take more confident swings so you kind of back yourself into a corner. I think that’s what happened to me.”
Most of the damage off the Tribe starter came from a Seattle four run fourth inning, which was started by Seager.
The Mariners All-Star took advantage of an Indians defensive shift that left third base wide open for the pull-happy left-handed slugger. Seager didn’t bite, leading off the inning with a push bunt single down the third base line.
It became a brilliant move for the M’s, scoring first on an RBI double by Corey Hart a few batters later. Middle infielders Dustin Ackley and Chris Taylor also chimed in with RBI doubles in the inning, as Seattle send nine men to the plate.
For awhile it looked as though that would be all the Mariners needed, especially with hard-throwing Japanese starter Hisashi Iwakuma (9-5, 3.06 ERA) on the hill.
“He has multiple pitches and certainly enough on his fastball,” Tribe outfielder David Murphy said of the opposing right-hander. “He threw a lot of strikes.”
After a solo homer by catcher Mike Zunino put Seattle up 5-0, Indians bats finally started to click against Iwakuma in the fifth.
Nick Swisher just missed a homer to lead off the frame, launching a ball high off the left field wall for a double. The Wahoos wouldn’t leave him stranded, bringing two home in the inning. Yan Gomes lined an RBI single to score the first run before a Jason Kipnis groundout cut the Mariners lead to three.
But it would be too little too late on this night, as the Indians couldn’t muster up any late inning magic.
“That’s the game of baseball,” Murphy said. “They call it a game of inches for a reason.”
Like Swisher, it was Murphy that also missed a solo homer in the seventh inning, only for the replay to confirm his fate that the ball just missed getting into the stands above the right field wall.
“It would’ve been nice to have a foot here and an inch here,” he said. “When I was on second base and saw the replay I thought it did go out. Whether it would have made a difference in the game, I don’t know. You hate walking away from a game having a what might’ve been feeling.”
The Mariners were held scoreless over the final 4 2/3 innings, thanks in large part to southpaw Nick Hagadone. Tossing 2 1/3 shutout innings, the lefty allowed just one hit while striking out three for the longest outing of his career.
“That was really nice to see,” Francona said. “He looked like he pitched with confidence, and worked ahead in the count using both of his pitches.”
Since taking three out of four against Detroit to open the second half, Cleveland (52-54) has now dropped seven of nine. But like always, the team remains optimistic.
“At this point there’s still way too much time left,” Murphy said. “Have we been through almost four months? Yes. Have we played inconsistent? Yes. Have there been plenty of games that we have lost that we could’ve won? Yes.”
Only four of 84 playoff teams in the last 10 years went onto make the postseason despite having a record below .500 through 105 games.
“The meaning of this game is to play 162,” Murphy said. “There is so much that can be done in two months. If we can find that consistency, we’ll be in good shape.”
The club’s most vocal leader certainly isn’t worried either.
“We got too good of attitudes around here, too good of a manager and too good of players around here to quit on anybody,” Swisher said. I hope nobody else is quitting on us, because we’re not quitting on ourselves.”
Up next for Indians: The Tribe looks to rebound against Seattle Wednesday night in a battle of American League aces. Right-hander Corey Kluber (10-6, 2.77 ERA) gets the start opposite of All-Star Felix Hernandez (11-2, 1.99 ERA) at 7:05 p.m.
Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swish should be riding the pine already and rooting for everyone which is what he is good at.