SEATTLE – The Mariners know all too well that any hesitation on a decision or a play in the field can be costly to the point of defeat.
They saw it first-hand in Sunday’s frustrating loss to the Texas Rangers when a double pump on a throw by outfielder Stefen Romero led to a two-run inning that decided ultimately decided the unfavorable outcome.
On Tuesday night at Safeco Field, it was the Mariners turn to benefit from the lamenting regret of indecision in a 7-1 win over the Indians.
It allowed them to snap a four-game losing streak to improve to 32-26 on the season.
With Seattle already leading 2-0 going into the bottom of the fourth, it appeared that Indians’ starter Cody Anderson had worked himself out of a minor jam of runners on first and second, getting Adam Lind to hit a hard one-hopper to shortstop Francisco Lindor with two outs.
Lindor fielded the ball awkwardly and then looked to flip the ball to second. But second baseman Jason Kipnis had been shifted over for Lind to pull and didn’t cover. Though he probably could have beaten the lumbering Dae-Ho Lee, who was running from first, in a foot race.
Confused for a moment, Lindor then realized he had to throw to first. But too much time had elapsed and Lind, not known to be fast or quick, beat out the throw.
It was ruled a single, since mental gaffes aren’t part of the MLB scoring guidelines. But it left the bases loaded.
Backup catcher Steve Clevenger, getting one of his bi-weekly starts, made Lindor, Kipnis and the Indians pay, yanking a double into the right-filed corner to score two runs to make it 4-0.
Two pitches later, Shawn O’Malley laced a line drive into the gap in left center that he hustled into a triple, scoring two more runs to make it 6-0. It ended Anderson’s outing.
He walked off the mound to the dugout while Lindor and Kipnis stood on the mound with manager Terry Francona, watching the exit they helped expedite.
That was more than enough for Seattle starter Wade Miley, who really only needed Nelson Cruz’s two-run homer – his first of two on the night – in the first inning as run support.
After back-to-back outings where he failed to make it more than five innings and giving up a combined nine runs, Miley delivered a brilliant outing.
Miley worked seven shutout innings, giving up just four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Miley worked with rhythm and pitched to contact, never allowing a runner to reach third base.
Cruz gave Miley that 2-0 lead in the first inning. After Robinson Cano slammed a hard single through the right side, Cruz allowed him to leisurely jog around the bases, getting on top of a 1-0, 95 mph from Anderson and hammering it into The ‘Pen in deep left-center, sending the largely unaware socializing group scattering.
After the four-run fourth inning, Cruz tacked on an insurance run in the fifth. Left-hander Tom Gorzelanny had retired three straight batters leading up to Cruz, but Francona went to right-hander Jeff Manship to face the Mariners’ slugger. Cruz sat on the third of three straight curveballs, hitting a low-rising line drive that kept carrying over the wall in dead center for his 15th home run of the season. It was the 27th multi-homer game of his career. In his last six games, Cruz has hit five homers. He trails Cano by one for the team lead.
The Indians lone run came in the top of the eighth. Having not thrown in five days, Joaquin Benoit was brought in to get some work. He gave up a solo homer to Lonnie Chisenhall to make it 7-1.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.