SEATTLE: The Mariners didn't sell out Safeco Field for Friday night's home opener until Friday morning. ¶
They came into the game against the Tribe with a 2-4 record, and when it was over they were 2-5, as the Indians delivered an early barrage of runs then coasted to a 12-3 win, their fifth in a row.
Maybe all that is as it should be. Seattle lost 101 games in 2010 and has posted five losing seasons in the past seven years to go with five last place finishes. That scenario should have a familiar ring to Northeast Ohio fans.
For several seasons before that the Mariners, like the Tribe, were one of the powerhouse clubs in their division.
Over the winter, the Mariners hired former Cleveland skipper Eric Wedge to manage the team and three former Tribe coaches/scouts to be on his staff: Carl Willis, Jeff Datz and Robbie Thompson. On the roster are Milton Bradley, Aaron Laffey, Franklin Gutierrez, Chris Gimenez and Jamey Wright, all of whom made stops in Cleveland.
So does that make the Mariners the Indians of the West? The difference is that Seattle's ownership has money to spend. Still, it will take awhile to fix this. You could tell by Friday night's game.
For the first time since April 18, 2009, against the Yankees, the Tribe scored 10 runs in a single inning. That's what happens when 14 batters come to the plate and seven of the first eight reach base.
Jason Vargas was the initial victim of the Indians' rally, giving up seven runs and nine hits in 3 1/3 innings (six in the fourth). But Tom Wilhelmsen kept the ball rolling.
It was against Wilhelmsen that Travis Hafner hit a drive that struck the front of a restaurant one level above the lower grandstand in right-field.
The three-run homer served as a dramatic climax to the inning that also included a two-run single by Carlos Santana. Hafner amassed four RBI during the inning, as he drove in the first run with a bloop single.
Almost lost in the chaotic 10-run inning was Asdrubal Cabrera's home run with one out and nobody on in the first that gave the Tribe its initial lead. He and Hafner are the only Indians with two home runs for the season.
Ironically, it was Laffey who finally refused to give up a Cleveland run. Laffey yielded only one infield hit and a walk in two innings, striking out two.
Carlos Carrasco was making his second start of the season and continued the run of excellence by the Tribe rotation, giving up one run and four hits in six innings. In the past five games, the starters have posted a 1.44 earned-run average. ¶
Obviously, Carrasco was able to relax and pitch aggressively after the Indians' double-digit outburst in the foruth. But in the first three innings, he allowed only a first-inning leadoff single by Ichiro Suzuki and a walk. Carrasco struck out three over this span and six for his six-inning stint.
In his first start of the season, Carrasco was shelled for seven runs in 6 2/3 innings.
Justin Germano relieved Carrasco and delivered two scoreless innings. By then, most of the 45,727 fans had left and did not see Frank Herrmann give up two runs but finish the job in the ninth. ¶
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