August 14, 2010 in Sports

Bard slugs grand slam in Mariners’ win

Catcher has four-hit game
 
Amy Sancetta photo

Josh Bard watches the flight of his grand slam against the Indians on Saturday.
(Full-size photo)

CLEVELAND — Josh Bard hit his first career grand slam and added a double and two singles, leading the Seattle Mariners over the Cleveland Indians 9-3 Saturday night.

Jason Vargas (9-5) pitched seven innings to earn his third straight win for the Mariners, now 4-1 since interim manager Daren Brown replaced the fired Dan Wakamatsu.

The Mariners posted consecutive road wins for the first time since June 29-30 at Yankee Stadium.

Mitch Talbot (8-10) and reliever Hector Ambriz gave up five runs and made 27 pitches before recording an out in the fifth inning. The Indians dropped to 3-11 at home since July 24.

Russell Branyan gave Seattle a 3-2 lead by lining Talbot’s first pitch of the fifth over the wall in left for his 15th homer, fifth since being traded June 26 by Cleveland to the Mariners for two minor leaguers.

Seattle then loaded the bases on a single by Jose Lopez and consecutive errors by third baseman Andy Marte. Franklin Gutierrez reached when Marte was handcuffed by a hard-hit grounder that got past him. Next, Marte fielded a slow roller hit by Casey Kotchman, but the ball slipped out of his hands as he went to throw it.

Ambriz came on and Bard hit a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right for his third homer and 7-2 lead. It wasn’t Bard’s most memorable home run at Progressive Field — that came in his first career game on Aug. 23, 2002, for Cleveland when he beat the Mariners with a two-run walkoff shot.

Kotchman’s eighth homer, a two-run shot, made it 9-2 in the sixth.

Vargas gave up three runs and six hits. The left-hander is 3-0 in three August starts after going 0-3 over six starts from June 27 through July 28.

Ichiro Suzuki put Seattle ahead in the first. He singled and eventually scored when Branyan grounded into a double play.

In the fourth, Ichiro battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a bases-loaded walk on the 11th pitch thrown to him by Talbot for a 2-0 lead.

Cleveland tied it with a two-out rally in the bottom half. Jayson Nix had an RBI double. After Matt LaPorta walked, Nix scored on Marte’s soft single. Marte then got picked off first by catcher Bard when he strayed too far off the bag.

Nix hit his ninth homer in the sixth to get Cleveland within 9-3.

Talbot, activated for the start, allowed eight hits and four earned runs over four innings, falling to 0-4 in six starts since his last win June 27 in an interleague game against Cincinnati. He had not pitched since leaving a start against the New York Yankees with a mid-back strain on July 29.

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