GIF: Fielding follies doom Mariners to sweep in Cleveland
The Mariners' road trip to Cleveland couldn't have gone much worse. Not only were they swept in the four-game wraparound series, they lost three of the games in walk-off fashion. On Friday, they were beaten by Jason Kipnis' three-run 10th-inning homer. On Saturday, they lost when Kipnis scored on Mark Reynolds' ninth-inning grounder after Brendan Ryan's throw failed to get a forceout at home. Sunday brought a respite in the form of a four-hit combined shutout by Justin Materson and two relievers. Monday… well, it was even messier, and perhaps more crushing. (See GIF-fueled explanations after the jump.)
The Indians led 6-5 through seven innings, but the Mariners tied the score with Kyle Seager's solo homer off Vinnie Pestano in the eighth, and took 7-6 lead on Endy Chavez's pinch-hit homer off Chris Perez in the ninth. Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen allowed two ninth inning singles but was one out away from shutting the door when he dropped Justin Smoak's underhanded toss while racing Carlos Santana to first base:
Ruled an error on Wilhelmsen, that miscue allowed Kipnis to score the game-tying run. Smoak picked his teammates up with a solo homer in the top of the 10th off Joe Smith, but after Michael Brantley singled off Charlie Furbush to start the bottom of the 10th, the Seattle first baseman dropped a throw from Furbush, who himself had already bobbled Drew Stubbs' sacrifice bunt attempt:
Furbush then served up a walkoff three-run homer to Yan Gomes, his second homer of the game, for a 10-8 victory that lifted the Indians to 26-17. They've now won five in a row and 18 of 22 to take a 2 1/2 game lead over the Tigers in the AL Central. With Gomes' two blasts plus one by Ryan Raburn, they took over the league lead in homers with 60; their .462 slugging percentage and .196 isolated power are also tops.
As for the Mariners (20-25), the four-game skid is their longest of the season. This was their fourth walkoff loss, breaking a tie with the Blue Jays, Rays, Tigers and White Sox to give them sole possession of the AL lead. No word on how much pitcher fielding practice manager Eric Wedge has scheduled for Tuesday.