SEATTLE – The Mariners were one hit away from making dubious history Saturday night.
And if Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager hadn’t led off the fifth inning with a single on an 0-1 fastball from Cleveland pitcher Josh Tomlin, the 23,012 in attendance at Safeco Field at least would have had a story to tell forever.
Instead, Cleveland’s 5-0 victory – in which Seager’s hit represented the only baserunner for Seattle – was a game the Mariners said they would try as quickly as possible to forget.
“Just a bad game all the way around,” said Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon. “The stars just didn’t align up for us tonight in a lot of different ways.”
They did in almost legendary fashion for Tomlin, who fanned a career-high 11 in throwing the first career shutout in his 64th start.
It was the 22nd time Seattle has been held to one hit or fewer and the first time since April 9 against the Angels.
Tomlin, who was inserted into Cleveland’s rotation last month, had been roughed up by the Angels and Detroit in his past two starts (10 earned runs in 9 1/3 innings).
But he was just about untouchable Saturday night.
“I don’t know – I really don’t know,” Tomlin said when asked to explain the quick turnabout. “I was finally back to commanding my fastball, and good things happen when I can do that.”
And maybe it was just Safeco Field, a park where he has always pitched well. He’s now 4-0 here in four career starts.
He kept the Mariners off-balance from the start with an assortment pitches, all of which he was able to command with ease.
Mariners starter Roenis Elias, who allowed six hits and five runs over six innings, including two in the first, continuing his struggles getting out of the gate – he has now allowed 19 earned runs in the first two innings and 28 in the rest.