League coughs up lead, Indians beat Mariners 2-1
SEATTLE (AP) — Felix Hernandez and the Mariners have seen this before.
Hernandez pitched brilliantly for eight shutout innings Thursday night before Jack Hannahan’s two-run single in the ninth off closer Brandon League rallied the Cleveland Indians to a 2-1 victory over Seattle.
Hernandez struck out 12 and walked one. The 2010 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed five hits, three in the eighth inning, but ended up with a no-decision because the Seattle offense was shut down again.
It was the third time in his career that he threw eight scoreless innings and did not receive a decision.
“Felix was incredible tonight,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said.
Indians starter Josh Tomlin just about matched Hernandez. Tomlin (1-1) tossed eight innings, yielding one run and five hits. He struck out seven, walked none and threw just 96 pitches.
“It was a great a game, both sides,” Hernandez said. “The other guy threw a pretty good game, too. It just gets exciting.”
Carlos Santana walked and Travis Hafner singled to open the ninth against League. Casey Kotchman’s sacrifice bunt advanced both runners.
League (0-1) walked Shelley Duncan, loading the bases, before Hannahan’s first-pitch single scored Santana and pinch-runner Aaron Cunningham to give the Indians a 2-1 lead.
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“It’s not the type of guy you want to go deep in the counts with, with that split-finger fastball and he’s throwing 97 (mph),” Hannahan said.
It was League’s first blown save since Aug. 23, also against Cleveland.
Hannahan figured his grounder to the left side was inches from becoming a double play.
“I got my groundball, but obviously it didn’t go my way,” League said.
Lucas Luetge replaced League with two outs and intentionally walked Michael Brantley to load the bases again before getting Jason Kipnis on a groundout.
Chris Perez got three outs for his fourth save.
The Indians tried to mount a rally in the eighth, too, but couldn’t break through. They loaded the bases on three consecutive singles by Hannahan, Jason Donald and Brantley. Donald’s hit was a possible double-play ball that glanced off Hernandez’s leg. Brantley’s grounder went off the tip of Dustin Ackley’s glove at second and was kept in the infield.
Hernandez was in trouble for the first time. Wedge went to the mound and chatted with the right-hander, choosing to leave him in despite having Luetge ready in the bullpen.
“Just told him to go get ’em,” Wedge said. “This is your ballgame, make pitches like you have all night.”
Hernandez responded by striking out Kipnis and Shin-Soo Choo. Hernandez hopped off the mound, yelled, and slapped his glove after his 126th pitch.
Seattle gave Hernandez a slim lead in the fifth. Michael Saunders doubled and went to third on Miguel Olivo’s sacrifice. John Jaso hit a hard grounder at second baseman Kipnis, who was pulled in with the rest of the Cleveland infield, and he threw high to home plate. Saunders was safe and Jaso moved to second on the throwing error.
Santana got the first hit for the Indians with two outs in the fourth when he hit a 2-1 pitch to left-center for a double. Hernandez already had six strikeouts at that point, and only one prior batter hit the ball out of the infield.
“Obviously, everybody knows that Felix is a stud, and he showed that tonight again,” Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. “But you know, I couldn’t be prouder than I am of my little cowboy. He went toe-to-toe with Felix for eight innings.”
Tomlin used a cutter and effective changeup to keep Seattle hitters leaning all night.
Olivo grounded into a double play with one out and runners on first and third in the second. Kyle Seager doubled and Saunders singled, but Olivo’s problems at the plate continued. He’s hitting just .143.
Hernandez also allowed Hafner’s double in the seventh. He went to a 2-1 count on Kotchman before coming back to get an inning-ending strikeout.
“When you dodge a guy like Hernandez and you’re able to win the ballgame, whether you beat him or not, you feel like you did something right,” Acta said.
NOTES: Mariners OF Mike Carp was the designated hitter for Triple-A Tacoma after his planned appearance in the outfield was scrapped. Carp is working his way back from a sprained shoulder. ... Indians shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera will fly back to Cleveland on Sunday. Cabrera was placed on the bereavement list, retroactive to Monday, following the death of his grandfather. Relief pitcher Nick Hagadone is likely to be sent down when Cabrera returns, according to Acta. ... Six players who spent time in the Mariners organization — Derek Lowe, Cabrera, Choo, Hannahan, Kotchman and Jose Lopez — are currently on Cleveland’s roster.