CLEVELAND -- The Seattle Mariners found a painful way to cure their losing streak Monday night.
Franklin Gutierrez's bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the ninth inning -- a rally keyed by two hit batters -- gave the Mariners a 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians.The victory snapped Seattle's five-game losing streak and was only their fourth win in their last 24 road games."Our guys hung in there," Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.Chance Ruffin (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for his first major league win while Brandon League worked out of a ninth-inning jam for his 31st save in 35 opportunities.Cleveland closer Chris Perez (2-6) hit both Miguel Olivo and Brendan Ryan with pitches to start the ninth. Perez compounded his problems by dropping a sacrifice bunt by Trayvon Robinson, loading the bases with no outs.Ichiro Suzuki, who led off the game with a home run, struck out. But Gutierrez, formerly of the Indians, hit a fly to medium center field and the slow-footed Olivo barely beat Ezequiel Carrera's one-hop throw home."We have to do it," Wedge said of the decision to send Olivo home. "That's the ballgame right there. He was aggressive. It was a good, hard slide and he got in there."Wedge also credited Gutierrez, who managed to lift his fly ball deep enough so Olivo could score."I can't say enough about that," Wedge said. "He hung in there. He had a tough at-bat."League retired the first two batters in the ninth, but singles by Jack Hannahan and pinch-hitter Lonnie Chisenhall placed runners at first and third. Chisenhall stole second, but League got Carrera to ground out to first on a 3-2 pitch, capping a nine-pitch at-bat."League didn't give in to the fight there," Wedge said. "He made some big pitches."Jose Vargas allowed only two unearned runs in seven innings, a fact that especially pleased Wedge since the teams play a day-night doubleheader Tuesday."He got us deep into the ballgame," Wedge said. "When you're playing this many games, you always have concerns about your bullpen. That was big for us."Ruffin, acquired in the deal that sent pitcher Doug Fister to Detroit at the trade deadline, pitched a perfect eighth inning."I love being in pressure situations," Ruffin said. "I'm happy they have the confidence to use me in a tie game that late."Although Suzuki didn't come through in the ninth, he did play a key role in the win. Batting .266 at gametime, he had three hits and connected off Fausto Carmona for his 35th career leadoff home run. He tied Barry Bonds for sixth all-time, two behind Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins.Despite the fact Suzuki, a career .331 hitter, is having his worst season in the majors, Wedge has no plans to cut his playing time or move him out of the leadoff spot."He's had his struggles this year," Wedge said. "I know it's been a fight for him. He's tried to handle it the best he can. We're going to continue to give him opportunities at the top of the lineup as we play this out."Four Seattle batters were hit by pitches. In addition to two plunked by Perez, Carmona hit Casper Wells and Mike Carp."It's scary when they're up and in like that," Wedge said. "Hopefully, they're OK."Carp went 0 for 4, snapping his 20-game hitting streak.Following Suzuki's home run, the Mariners added a run in the second on catcher Lou Marson's throwing error.Cleveland tied it with two unearned runs in the second off Vargas after a two-out error by shortstop Ryan, playing his first game since Aug. 3 after a shoulder injury. He had another throwing error later in the inning."As the baseball gods would have it, he had about 10 groundballs hit his way and he hadn't played in two weeks," Wedge said.
The win was Wedge's first against his former club, which fired him at the end 2009 season after eight years on the job. Cleveland swept three games in Seattle in April and won a game in Cleveland in May. ... Seattle will call up LHP Anthony Vasquez from Triple-A Tacoma to make his MLB debut in the nightcap. The Mariners will have to clear a spot on both the 25- and 40-man roster between games. ... ... RHP Zach McAllister was in the Indians' clubhouse before the game. He will officially be recalled from Triple-A Columbus to start the second game Tuesday. ... Cleveland put DH Travis Hafner on the disabled list with a strained right foot and recalled RHP Josh Judy from Columbus.