The Indians continued their bounce-back road trip Thursday night with a dramatic 2-1 win at Seattle. In many ways it was their most impressive victory of the season, as it came in a game started by Mariners ace Felix Hernandez.
Hernandez did not get the loss, but he dominated the Indians for eight scoreless innings, striking out 12. The Indians had one chance to win the game, in the ninth with Hernandez out of the game, and that’s what they did, pushing across two runs.
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Cleveland improved to 5-1 on its nine-game road trip, which will conclude with a three-game series in Oakland starting Friday night. The successful trip comes on the heels of a 1-4 season-opening homestand.
The Indians, who averaged just four runs per game in their homestand, won the first four games on the trip by averaging 10 runs per game. They lost 4-1 to Seattle on Wednesday, then managed to eke by on Thursday.
Overshadowed by Hernandez’s outing Thursday was the work of Indians starter Josh Tomlin. A 12-game winner last year, Tomlin was not very good at all in his first two starts this season, going 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA.
However, Tomlin couldn’t have been much better Thursday night. He pitched eight innings, allowing one run on five hits and matching his career high with seven strikeouts. He didn’t walk a batter. The key for Tomlin is his uncanny control. He led all major league pitchers last year in fewest walks per nine innings, and he has continued to pound the strike zone this year. In his three starts, Tomlin has struck out 14 and walked one.
Hannahan’s clutch hit sinks Mariners
–3B Jack Hannahan came through with a two-run single in the ninth inning Thursday, lifting the Indians to a 2-1 win over the Mariners. Hannahan also had one of the five hits the Indians managed in eight innings against Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez. Hannahan’s 1-for-3 night vs. Hernandez actually lowered his career average vs. the big right-hander to .444 (8-for-18).
–LF Shelley Duncan, who went 0-for-3 with a walk Thursday, is tied for the American League led with 11 walks. The Indians, despite having played the fewest games in the majors (11), lead all AL teams with 57 walks. C Carlos Santana has 10 walks, and OF Shin-Soo Choo has nine, putting them among the league leaders.
–RHP Josh Tomlin, in one of the best starts of his career, was matched up against Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez, but Tomlin came away with a 2-1 victory Thursday night. Tomlin threw 96 pitches in eight innings, allowing one run on five hits. He matched his career high of seven strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter. “I couldn’t be any prouder of my little cowboy,” manager Manny Acta said of the Texas native. “He went toe to toe with Felix for eight innings.”
–RHP Chris Perez, who blew a save on opening day, has been very good since then. Perez, 4-for-4 in save situations since the opener, retired the side in order in the ninth to preserve a 2-1 Indians victory over Seattle on Thursday night. In the past four save situations, Perez has pitched four scoreless innings, allowing three hits.
–SS Asdrubal Cabrera remains on the bereavement list and has returned to his home in Venezuela following the death of his grandfather. Cabrera has missed the Indians’ last three games and is not expected to rejoin the team until the start of the next homestand on April 24.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5-1 — The Indians’ road record this year. The team is 1-4 at Progressive Field.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “When you dodge a guy like Felix on the road and are able to get a win, you feel like you’re doing something right.” — Manager Manny Acta, after the Indians scored two runs in the ninth inning to beat Seattle 2-1. Mariners ace Felix Hernandez had shut them out over the first eight innings before being removed from the game.
–LHP David Huff (right hamstring strain) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 30. He will begin a rehab assignment with Class AA Akron on April 20.
–OF Grady Sizemore (back surgery in March 2012) went on the 60-day disabled list April 4. He was cleared to begin baseball activities in late April, and he might be able to return as soon as he is eligible.
–RHP Carlos Carrasco (Tommy John surgery in September 2011) went on the 60-day disabled list March 26. He might miss the entire season.