Mariners 6, Indians 2: Box Score
In a return to what has been seen many times thus far this season, the Indians lost last night by the final score of 6-2 to the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field. The Friday night game witnessed another phemomenal pitching effort by Felix Hernandez of Seattle, while Grady Sizemore paced the Indians with a pair of hits. With the loss, Cleveland dropped to 19 games under .500 as the team is now 7-19 in their past 26 games.
Cleveland lefty David Huff got the nod against the now 47-43 Mariners, but struggled with his pitch count in permitting seven hits and three runs over 5.0 innings of work with 108 pitches. It was the 12th start of the season for the rookie out of UCLA, and on average per start he has gone just five innings exactly but is right around 94 pitches per game. He is now 4-4 with a 6.60 ERA, and the second inning homer he allowed to Franklin Gutierrez was the 10th he has permitted this season and he has only gone four starts without permitting a home run.
Seattle extended their slim lead in the fourth inning all with two outs as catcher Rob Johnson doubled and Jack Hannahan walked to put a pair of runners on base. Former Cub Ronny Cedeno and Ichiro Suzuki then followed with a pair of RBI singles to make it 3-0, while the Mariners tacked on two more in the fifth thanks to a pair of walks, a stolen base and a crucial error by reliever Jose Veras. Since being acquired by Cleveland, Veras has worked in seven games going 6.2 innings and allowing four earned runs on seven hits and four walks for a 5.40 ERA (he had a 5.96 ERA in 25 games for the Yankees).
With the game pretty much over, the Indians of course managed to put up a pair of runs in the sixth and eighth because of the solid offensive night by Grady Sizemore. He tripled with one out in the bottom of the sixth, and Asdrubal Cabrera followed with a sacrifice fly to left, while Sizemore followed up a double play in the eighth with a run-scoring double. It was just the second multi-extra-base hit game for the soon-to-be 27-year-old since May 4th, a span of 43 games while last season he had 16 games with multiple extra-base hits in 157 contests.
Since returning from his three-week absence due to injury, Grady has been much closer to his normal production than we were seeing earlier this year. When he was placed on the DL retroactive to May 30th, he was batting just .211 with a .283 on-base percentage and 52 strikeouts compared to just 25 walks on the season. Over the past three seasons his on-base percentage had always been above .370 while his strikeout to walk ratio of 1.58 was below average, but not near the bottom of the league like it was this season. Now in his past 19 games, Sizemore is batting .293 (22-75) with 14 strikeouts against 10 walks, and actually has a 1.074 OPS in 12 outings in July thus far.
Once again this season, the Indians were no match for an All-Star pitcher despite a very solid offensive night by one of the core members of this team. Ben Francisco’s double play in the eighth inning killed what could have been a huge rally for the time as evidenced by Sizemore’s RBI double that followed, and just epitomizes the struggles in 2009. While Gutierrez is having a career year at batting .293 with 11 home runs along with hitting safely in 23 of his last 25 games, Francisco is hitting .185 (22-119) in his past 35 games and is batting just .235 for the season. The former Akron Aero teammates in the outfield are at opposite junctures in their careers since Gutierrez was traded to Seattle, and it just shows how difficult this season has been for many Cleveland fans.
(AP Photo/Tony Dejak)