Ruben Amaro still doesn’t fill Eddie Murray’s shoes.
However, the fit wasn’t so bad on Friday night as Amaro’s RBI single in the eighth inning scored Jim Thome and gave Cleveland a 6-5 win over Seattle.
Cleveland purchased Amaro’s contract from Class AAA Buffalo on July 3 to replace the injured Murray just days after Murray’s 3,000th hit.
Thome opened the eighth with a single off reliever Steve Frey (0-3), then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Sandy Alomar Jr. Amaro followed with a single to center to break a three-game losing streak.
“I wanted to hit it hard, but I just kind of blooped it in,” Amaro said. “Right now I’ll take anything I can get.”
Before Friday’s game Amaro had hit .100 (3 for 30) since his recall.
“I’m not getting that many chances to play and I really need to start taking advantage of the chances I do get,” Amaro said.
Eric Plunk (5-1) won the game in relief after the Indians had squandered a 5-2 lead in the seventh.
Jose Mesa allowed the Mariners to load the bases in the ninth, but struck out Luis Sojo for his 28th save in 28 opportunities.
Aided by three mistakes from reliever Julian Tavarez, Seattle rallied for three runs in the seventh inning to tie the game 5-5.
Tavarez gave up a single to Joey Cora to open the inning and then bobbled a bunt by Alex Diaz for an error. After a wild pitch, Edgar Martinez hit a two-run single. Martinez moved to second on a balk and then to third on a grounder. Jay Buhner followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Tavarez has a blown save in each of his last three appearances.
“His last few outings are not what we’re used to seeing,” Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove said. “He made an error on a routine bunt and I still don’t understand the balk call.”
Ken Hill, making his first A.L. start, allowed six hits and two runs over six innings. Hill, acquired from St. Louis Thursday for three minor leaguers, left with a 5-2 lead.
Manager Lou Piniella acknowledged that the Mariners made a hard push to acquire Jim Abbott, who was traded Thursday from Chicago to the California. And Mike Blowers said they tried to acquire David Cone.
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