CLEVELAND — After absorbing a stinging walkoff defeat in the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Progressive Field, the Mariners got the best possible salve in the second game: A laugher.
Or, more accurately, a nervous chuckler, because the Indians never relented.
Pounding out 17 hits to match their season high, the Mariners blasted the Indians, 12-7, to salvage a split.
In the afternoon opener, they had taken a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth on a two-run double by Trayvon Robinson in the top of the inning. But Shin-Soo Choo belted at three-run homer off closer Brandon League for a 7-5 Cleveland victory.
In the evening rematch, rookie left-hander Anthony Vasquez, making his major-league debut, was the beneficiary of the M’s offensive uprising. Vasquez had 11 runs on his behalf after 4-1/3 innings. In a span of six starts from June 26 to July 26, the Mariners scored a total of nine runs for Doug Fister.
Four rookies did the bulk of the damage for Seattle in the nightcap. Robinson had four hits; Kyle Seager had three, including a home run; Dustin Ackley drove in three; and Mike Carp hit his seventh home run, a two-run shot.
In the two games on Tuesday, Robinson and Seager each had six hits. When the game began, Robinson was hitting .250, Seager .224. When it ended, they were at .321 and .276, respectively.
Vasquez, en route to the victory, lasted 5-1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and six runs, five of them earned. He walked two and struck out two. More than likely, he’ll now return to Class AAA Tacoma, but he’ll have a W to take back.
Tom Wilhelmsen replaced Vasquez in the sixth and worked out of a major jam that threatened to let the Indians back into the game. With two runs already in and the bases loaded, Wilhelmsen struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and got Choo — with a triple and home run already in the game — to ground out to second.
Wilhelmsen worked out of more trouble in the seventh by striking out Kosuke Fukudome and Jason Donald — both looking — with a runner on third.
The Mariners jumped all over the Indians’ rookie starter Zach McAllister, who like Vasquez was called up from Class AAA for the game. Compared to Vasquez, Mcallister was a seasoned veteran — this was his second major-league start. But he lasted just 3-1/3 innings, giving up nine hits and 10 runs, eight of them earned.
Carp, who had his 20-game hitting streak snapped on Monday, and his 30-game streak of getting on base snapped in the opener of the twin bill, launched a two-run homer in the third. That blast, estimated at 438 feet, was part of Seattle’s five-run outburst in the inning, with Franklin Gutierrez adding an RBI double and Ackley a run-scoring single.
The Mariners scored five more in the fourth, with Ackley adding a two-run single and Gutierrez driving in another with one of his three hits in the game.
The Indians made a last-gasp chance to get back in the game in the eighth when Chance Ruffin walked in a run. But Jeff Gray came in to get the final two outs of the inning, stranding the bases loaded. He finished the game and recorded his first major-league save by virtue of having the tying run on deck in the eighth.
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