Indians 7, Mariners 5
At times it can be painful for their manager to watch, but the young Seattle Mariners are growing up.
Eric Wedge can only hope these kids don't stop.
Hours after another heartbreaking loss, the Mariners bounced back and beat the Cleveland Indians 12-7 in the second game of a day-night doubleheader Tuesday, a nine-plus-hour marathon that will be remembered for the earthquake that swayed the upper deck of Progressive Field.
Anthony Vasquez won his major league debut with a ton of run support and fellow rookie Dustin Ackley had three RBIs as the Mariners won the night game, just hours after they dejectedly left the field following a three-run, walk-off homer by Shin-Soo Choo that gave the Indians a 7-5 win.
Wedge was proud of his young team's resiliency.
''That's what we do,'' said Wedge, who has 12 rookies on his 25-man roster. ''We had to come back from that. We're playing a team that's in the mix and our kids are playing good baseball.''
Vasquez (1-0) was one of five first-year players in Seattle's starting lineup in Game 2, but whatever the Mariners lacked in experience, they made up for with quality swings while scoring five runs in both the third and fourth innings off Zach McAllister (0-1), who was belted for 10 runs and nine hits in 3 1-3 innings.
Seattle's rookies showed their stuff.
Mike Carp hit a two-run homer, Trayvon Robinson had four hits and Kyle Seager homered for the Mariners. Although not a rookie, Seattle's Jeff Gray also had a first, working out of trouble in the eighth and finishing for his first career save.
''It's awesome,'' Robinson said of the rookies' contributions. ''It's coming together. We're all starting to play better. It's a great feeling.''
The Indians won the opener with typical dramatic flair - a three-run homer in the ninth by Choo to snap a four-game losing streak and keep pace with the Tigers. However, Cleveland couldn't keep its momentum, fell behind 10-2 in the fourth inning in the nightcap and now trail first-place Detroit in the AL Central by six games.
In the second game, Kusoke Fukudome and Choo hit solo homers and Jack Hannahan had a career-high four hits for Cleveland, which went 3 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
''We kept battling, but we were in too big a hole to get out of it,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said.
Choo's three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth in the opener came shortly after the ballpark was briefly shaken by the 5.8 magnitude earthquake centered in Virginia.
The temblor swayed the upper deck and press box and chased away a few frightened fans.
''My first thought was, 'That's weird, I can't move this seat,''' said Tim Hammond, who attended the game with his wife and three kids. ''I thought it was the wind. I know the stadium is made to move, but I didn't know what was moving it. I was thinking maybe they blew something up on that movie set. A lot of people got up and were like 'We're out of here.'''
Choo's shot into the seats in left field quaked the ballpark again, giving the Indians their sixth walk-off win by a homer and 15th victory in their final home at-bat this season. Choo almost didn't play for the second straight game following the birth of his daughter, Abigail, but he arrived 90 minutes before the first pitch and hit the final one from Brandon League (1-5) over the wall.
The shot pumped up the Indians. It wasn't long before they were deflated.
The Mariners, who have been the wrong end of too much game-ending drama this season - they've lost 12 times on walk-offs - took the suspense out of the second game early and gave Vasquez plenty of cushion.
''You always wish you could do a little better, but we got the win,'' Vasquez said. ''The run support helped a lot. That was everything. It helped me relax a little bit.''
Wedge wasn't going to be critical of the left-hander's debut.
''I'll take it,'' Wedge said. ''Vasquez didn't quite have the command I wanted to see, but that first time out is always a mulligan. He got us a win so good for him.''
Notes: The Mariners are 2-5 against the Indians. ... Carp has reached base safely in 31 of his last 32 games. ... Robinson went 6 for 9 in the two games. ... The teams will wrap up their series with another matinee as Felix Hernandez (11-11) faces Josh Tomlin (12-6). It will be Hernandez's 200th career start - all with Seattle. ... The Indians hosted their second annual ''Puppypalooza,'' allowing fans to bring their dogs into the ballpark. More than 600 mutts and purebreds paraded around the field before the game without incident. ... Vasquez is the 10th Seattle pitcher to make his major league debut this season.