Naquin's 2-run HR lifts Indians past M's 5-3
SEATTLE (AP) Tyler Naquin golfed a two-run home run off reliever Joaquin Benoit in the eighth inning to lift the Cleveland Indians to a 5-3 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday night.
Naquin managed to coax just enough carry out of a changeup low and out of the strike zone from Benoit to carry the wall in right field and give the Indians a 4-2 lead.
''Benoit has got some good stuff,'' Naquin said. ''I know his best secondary is a split and it's always in the back of my mind. ... It wasn't really that up in the zone, but just enough.''
Naquin flipped his wrists to get down to a pitch out of the zone and the ball made an unsavory ''clunk'' off the bat instead of the usual ''crack'' that comes on home runs at Safeco Field. Nevertheless, the ball kept carrying and clattered off the metal grating over the right field fence to give the Indians the late lead.
''That probably wasn't a pitch he would've hit earlier in the year,'' Francona said. ''Probably a split or off speed. What a huge lift for us, shoot. And that's against a guy who doesn't give up many hits, let alone home runs to left handers.''
Dan Otero (1-0) picked up the victory in relief of starter Josh Tomlin. Cody Allen worked out of two jams to earn his 13th save of the season.
Benoit (1-1) walked Rajai Davis with one out in the eighth inning before Naquin's blast gave Cleveland the lead. A throwing error by Benoit allowed Chris Gimenez to reach base and ultimately score on a single by Jason Kipnis to increase the lead to 5-2.
''There is something to be said for continuing to plug away,'' Francona said. ''We fought back to take a lead and we had it for about 30 seconds. And then, off some pretty good pitchers, we found ways to score and we had to hang on like crazy.''
Robinson Cano's second solo homer of the game - this one off Bryan Shaw - closed the gap to 5-3 in the bottom half of the inning. Kyle Seager singled and Lind walked to force Cleveland to bring Allen in early, but he forced Ketel Marte to ground out to end the inning.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith singled off Allen with two outs but Allen got Cano to strike out to seal the victory.
Cano homered to center field off Tomlin in the first inning to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead. After a single by Nelson Cruz, Seager came inches from a home run as his fly ball landed on the yellow line of the wall in left field and caromed back into play. Davis and Francisco Lindor combined to throw out Cruz at the plate to end the inning and limit the damage.
The walks caught up to starter Nathan Karns in the fifth inning. After striking out Gimenez to open the inning, walks to Carlos Santana and Kipnis ended Karns' night. With the bases loaded, Jose Ramirez singled to right field to score Santana but Lindor was thrown out at the plate by Cruz to end the inning and keep the game tied 1-1.
''The walks they came and got us,'' Mariners manager Scott Servais said. ''I think three or four of those guys scored tonight. We were right in it until the end, really good at-bats to give us a chance late but just not enough. The walks really got us tonight.
Indians: C Yan Gomes is still sore after suffering contused testicles in Tuesday night's game. A follow-up examination showed no serious damage, but he wasn't expected to be available Thursday night, according to manager Terry Francona. ... 3B Jose Ramirez was back in the lineup Thursday after being scratched with a sore ankle on Wednesday. Ramirez fouled a ball off his ankle on Tuesday night. ... RHP Danny Salazer threw well after missing Tuesday's start due to shoulder fatigue. The Indians skipped Salazar's last start and called up Cody Anderson for a spot start.
Mariners: CF Leonys Martin was scratched from a rehab outing with Triple-A Tacoma due to a wet field. Martin has been on the DL since May 27 with a hamstring strain. Manager Scott Servais said he wouldn't be hesistant to activate Martin on Friday without a rehab outing.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber (5-6, 3.84 ERA) will get the ball against the Los Angeles Angels. Kluber didn't allow a run in his last start against the Kansas City Royals. Kluber pitched six innings with two hits, two walks and six strikeouts. He has picked up the victory in three of his last four starts.
Mariners: RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (4-5, 4.13 ERA) will make his second consecutive start against the Texas Rangers. Iwakuma took the loss despite a strong outing last Sunday against Texas. Iwakuma allowed one earned run and four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts. He has pitched seven innings in each of his last three starts.