After four losses, three on walk-offs by the Indians in four days, the Seattle Mariners couldn’t pack their bags and get to the airport fast enough.
”Glad to leave,” closer Tom Wilhelmsen said. ”Glad to leave Cleveland.”
Talk about lost weekends.
Despite hitting homers in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings, the Mariners made costly errors – one by Wilhelmsen with the ball in his hands for the final out – in the last two innings and lost 10-8 on Monday to the Indians.
Yan Gomes hit a three-run homer in the 10th innings off Charlie Furbush (0-3) as the Indians completed the four-game sweep.
Leading 7-6 in the ninth, the Mariners appeared to have the win when first baseman Justin Smoak fielded Carlos Santana’s hard grounder and flipped the ball to Wilhelmsen covering first. However, the right-hander dropped the ball, allowing Jason Kipnis to score the tying run and force extras.
”I just took my eyes off the ball,” Wilhelmsen said. ”Smoakie made a great play. He threw a perfect ball right to me. I simply took my eyes off it.”
Then, in the 10th, Smoak hit a two-out homer off Joe Smith (2-0) to give the Mariners a 8-7 lead. However, Seattle again couldn’t hold on.
Furbush, on for his first career save, gave up a leadoff single to Michael Brantley and Drew Stubbs reached when Smoak dropped a throw to first for an error. Gomes followed with a shot into the left-field stands, giving the Indians their fifth straight win and most improbable victory this season.
The Mariners had arrived feeling pretty good about themselves after winning two of three at Yankee Stadium and moving within one game of .500.
They left Cleveland scratching their heads.
On Friday night, the Indians rallied with two outs in the 10th and won on Kipnis’ three-run homer. On Saturday, Seattle catcher Jesus Montero failed to keep his foot on the plate on a forceout in the ninth, allowing Cleveland to score the winning run.
Ace Felix Hernandez was beaten Sunday as the Indians shut out the Mariners 6-0, and Monday’s loss came after Seattle clobbered Cleveland’s bullpen for three homers in three innings.
”Three walkoffs is never a good thing in a four-game series,” Smoak said. ”Someway, we just have to throw it behind us. It’s baseball. Stuff like that happens.”
Mariners manager Eric Wedge has seen signs of growth in his young team. But the progress sometimes includes some pain.
”It was another weird game,” Wedge said. ”We’re just on the south side of things right now. Cleveland is probably one of the hottest teams in baseball. Things are going their way.”
The Mariners got a tying homer by Kyle Seager in the eighth off Vinnie Pestano and a go-ahead shot by pinch-hitter Endy Chavez in the ninth off Chris Perez, but couldn’t close it out because of their own miscues.
”We kept coming back and kept taking the lead,” Wedge said. ”We weren’t able to make plays or make pitches when we needed to late. We weren’t able to finish things off.”
The win was another sign of resiliency by the Indians, who hadn’t swept four in a row from Seattle since 1981.
”You’re supposed to play `til they send you home,” manager Terry Francona said. ”It’s a good feeling. Once you do it a few times I think that breeds some confidence. Whether it’s picking each other up, it’s getting contagious, and that’s good.”
The final three innings bordered on the absurd as the Mariners took the lead only to give it away with bone-headed plays.
Wilhelmsen’s error in the ninth not only cost the Mariners a certain win, but it allowed Perez to escape a loss after he gave up the homer to Chavez. It was another bad outing for Perez, who allowed back-to-back homers in the ninth on Saturday but wound up getting a win.
With Seattle trailing 6-5 in the eighth, Seager homered off Pestano, who recently came off the disabled list, into the Mariners’ bullpen for his fifth homer.
The Indians took a 6-5 lead in the seventh off Yoervis Medina without hitting the ball beyond the infield grass. Seattle starter Hisashi Iwakuma was tagged by the Indians for five runs in four innings, but the right-hander settled in and retired the final seven hitters he faced. He gave up seven hits and struck out six in six innings.
NOTES: Mariners SS Brendan Ryan started a gorgeous double play in the fourth when he one-hopped Michael Bourn’s liner and flipped the ball with his glove to 2B Robert Andino, who fired to first to nip Cleveland’s speedy leadoff hitter. … Frequent fliers, the Mariners will log 52,509 travel miles this season, most in the majors. … Mariners RHP Aaron Harang will start Tuesday against the Angels. He missed his previous start with back stiffness. … The Mariners went 4 for 32 with runners in scoring position during the series. They’re batting just .202 in those scoring opportunities.