Coming of a sweep by AL Central-leading Detroit over the weekend, the Cleveland Indians could not overcome a wild ninth inning for closer Chris Perez as the team fell to former manager Eric Wedge and the Seattle Mariners 3-2 Monday night at Progressive Field.
The loss puts the Indians at .500 on the year at 62-62, and now they are 5 1/2 back of the Tigers in the division after Detroit beat Tampa Bay. The loss also means the Indians are in a second-place tie with the Chicago White Sox, who had Monday night off.
The ninth inning was a nightmare for the All-Star Indians closer in Perez. He hit both Miguel Olivo and Brendan Ryan with pitches to start the inning. Then he made things worse by dropping a sacrifice bunt by Trayvon Robinson, loading the bases with no outs.
After a strikeout, former Indian Franklin Gutierrez lifted a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to bring the winning run in. The Indians made it interesting in the ninth with runners on second and third with two outs, but Ezequiel Carrera hit a grounder to first to end the game.
“Tonight, it didn’t matter if it was a save or not, it just didn’t happen for me,” Chris Perez said. “When I come into a game and don’t do the job, it is usually going to be a loss.”
Chance Ruffin (1-0) threw a 1-2-3 eighth for his first major league win. Brandon League pitched the ninth for his 31st save in 35 chances.
“Once again, our pitchers gave us a chance to win, but we just could not execute offensively,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “These guys are pumped. They’re getting after it. I can’t complain about the effort, but you have to get hits with runners on base to win.”
It looked like it was going to be an awful night from the start for Indians starter Fausto Carmona. He gave up a solo homer to Ichiro Suzuki to start the game, and then it was 2-0 Mariners after they pushed another run across in the second.
From there he settled down, and lasted through the sixth after the Indians were able to tie it at two with a pair of runs in the second. The right-hander allowed one earned run and six hits, walking one and striking out six. “Fausto labored a bit, but had a very good sinker and worked six good innings,” Acta said.
The Indians two runs came off Mariners starter Jason Vargas after a two-out error by Ryan at shortstop. Carlos Santana doubled and took third when Ryan scooped up a grounder by Jack Hannahan, but threw wildly to first. Lou Marson and Carrera followed with RBI singles. Vargas fanned seven over seven innings, allowing seven hits and two walks.
Tuesday the teams will play a pair of games, the first a makeup game from a rain out in the middle of May. At 1:05pm Justin Masterson goes for the Indians against Blake Beaven for Seattle.
The 7:05pm game will see Zach McAllister go for the Indians. The Mariners have yet to announce who will start the second game.