CLEVELAND – Seattle Mariners closer Brandon League has been a reliable reliever throughout his nine-year career.
When he faces the Cleveland Indians, however, things typically do not end on a positive note.
League allowed the tying single to Asdrubal Cabrera and the winning hit to Carlos Santana in the 11th inning on Thursday, allowing the Indians to rally for a 6-5 victory over the Mariners.
Seattle had taken a one-run lead in the top of the 11th on Michael Saunders’ RBI double, but League (0-3) squandered it by walking three batters, throwing a wild pitch and allowing two hits in just one-third of an inning.
“We gave them that game,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge fumed.
“Walks killed us early and walks killed us late. I liked the way we battled back after they tied the score the first time, but then we blew it again.”
It marked League’s third blown save at Progressive Field in the last two seasons. In his career against Cleveland, the right-hander is 2-5 with a 9.18 ERA and seven blown saves in nine chances.
“I’m not sure what happened, but Brandon didn’t look like himself the whole inning,” Wedge said.
Cabrera’s one-out single scored former Mariners infielder Jose Lopez, while Santana’s liner up the middle came two batters later and brought Jason Kipnis home from third base.
“My control was just absolutely unacceptable today,” said League, who has converted 45 of 53 total save opportunities since the start of 2011.
“I was issuing free passes, and when I did get the ball over the plate, it was right down the middle.”
Joe Smith , the seventh Cleveland pitcher of the day, earned the victory for Cleveland despite allowing Saunders’ go-ahead shot off the wall in left-center that scored Dustin Ackley.
Seattle’s bullpen, meanwhile, was torched for five runs, five hits and five walks to waste a fine performance by starter Hector Noesi.
The 25-year-old righty exited the game with a 4-0 lead and one out in the seventh, but was powerless to stop the Mariners from losing their fourth straight game and falling to 1-12 in their last 13 road contests.
Seattle went 2 for 18 with runners in scoring position, making it 8 for 96 in its last 13 road games.
Indians 6, Mariners 5 (11)
E—Jo.Lopez (1). LOB—Seattle 11, Cleveland 13. 2B—M.Saunders (10), Seager (11), Jaso (5), Choo (10), Kotchman (4). HR—Jo.Lopez (2). RBIs—M.Saunders 2 (14), Jaso (9), Ryan (8), A.Cabrera 2 (17), C.Santana (22), Jo.Lopez 3 (6). SB—Ackley (3), Ryan (2).
|League L,0-3 BS||1/3||2||2||2||3||1||3.12|
IR-S—Luetge 1-1, Asencio 2-1, Accardo 2-0. HBP—Hafner. Balk—McAllister. T—4:07. A—12,894 (43,429).