SEATTLE (AP) Taijuan Walker showed the Seattle Mariners how good he can be.
Walker allowed just two hits over eight innings and Seth Smith hit a two-run homer to lead the Mariners to a 2-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Walker (2-5) got his first win since April 27 with one of the best starts of the 22-year-old’s young career. He did not walk a batter and struck out eight, matching his career high, for his first victory at Safeco Field.
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”With young starters, there’s going to be two starts that you’re not going to like, there’s going to be one that you’re shaking your head,” Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. ”Then there’s one where he’s going to show you a glimpse of the future and tonight that was one of those starts.
”He worked fast, he threw strikes, he worked ahead in the count, he was in and out, he had a great change. … He did everything we asked him.”
Smith, batting cleanup for the first time this season with Robinson Cano out sick, hit a 2-1 pitch from Trevor Bauer (4-2) into the right-center seats in the sixth inning. It scored Nelson Cruz, who had singled.
It was Smith fifth home run this season. The Mariners have homered in eight straight games and 13 of their last 14.
”It was a cutter. It was a stupid pitch. I shouldn’t have thrown it,” Bauer said. ”Wrong pitch, wrong time. I should have thrown the fastball in. But, you know, it happens.”
Bauer went seven innings, allowing two runs, six hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts.
Fernando Rodney had trouble in the ninth, allowing a pinch-hit, run-scoring triple by Ryan Raburn, but still earned his 14th save in 16 opportunities.
Despite only two blown saves, Rodney continually puts the team on a roller coaster during many of his save situations. That has led to some calls for replacing him.
”You know people talk about you ought to get another closer and this and that,” McClendon said. ”If someone told me I could get you a closer over the next two years who saves 62 of 66 games I don’t think anyone in this room would say, don’t get that guy. Then when he blows a couple everyone wants to get another closer. I think that’s an unfair shot.”
Mariners: LHP James Paxton was placed on the 15-day DL Friday with a strained tendon in his middle finger. RHP Dominic Leone was called up to replace him. … RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (strained lat), on the DL since April 24, threw catch from 90 feet Friday with no timetable for a return. LHO Joe Beimel was placed on the restricted list to attend his son’s high school graduation. LHP Lucas Luetge was called up from Triple-A Tacoma. … 2B Cano missed the game with flu-like symptoms.
Indians: INF Carlos Santana is on the restricted list to be with his wife Brittany, who gave birth Thursday morning to a girl. He will fly from Cleveland on Saturday night and is expected to be available for Sunday’s game.
Mariners: LHP Roenis Elias (2-1, 2.56) started the season at Triple-A Tacoma but after five starts has become an integral part of the Mariners injury-riddled rotation. Elias has won his past two starts and has not allowed more than three runs in any start.
Indians: RHP Shawn Marcum (1-0, 6.28) will try to rebound from a poor start Monday against Texas. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs and four hits. He gave up two home runs, had six strikeouts and three walks. He is 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA in five career starts against Seattle.
Indians 2B Jason Kipnis went 1 for 3 with a walk after entering the game hitting .449 in May with 13 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 16 RBIs. From May 9-16, he had club-record-matching 19 hits over seven games and his 49 hits this month is the most for the franchise since at least 1914.
The Mariners are going through a particularly tough stretch of strikeout pitchers. It started Wednesday, facing Tampa’s Chris Archer, second in the AL with 82 (he had 12). On Thursday, they faced Cleveland’s Corey Cluber, the leader with 96 (he had 13). Bauer, who came in with 55, had 10. On Sunday, Cleveland’s Danny Salazar, tied for fifth with 66, is scheduled, and on Monday the Yankees’ Michael Pineda, fourth with 67, is expected to start.
PUT HIM IN COACH
With two hits Friday, Cruz is batting .376 with 15 HRs and 30 RBIs when he starts in right field. As a DH, he is batting .286 with three HRs and 8 RBIs.