CLEVELAND: Closer Chris Perez, setup man Vinnie Pestano and seventh-inning specialist Joe Smith gave up home runs in consecutive innings Monday, and the Indians still beat the Seattle Mariners 10-8 in 10 innings at Progressive Field.
When the team’s three best relievers get dumped on in the same game, it’s probably an aberration. But nobody will know for certain until their next appearance or two.
“You don’t often see an opponent score in three straight [late] innings and you win the game,” manager Terry Francona said. “Yeah, it’s interesting.”
Pestano gave up a home run to Kyle Seager that tied the score in the eighth; Perez was rocked by Endy Chavez’s home run in the ninth that gave the Mariners the lead, and Smith was assaulted by Justin Smoak, whose 10th-inning homer put the Mariners on top again.
Looking on the bright side, Pestano said, “It feels great to walk back to the dugout and look guys in the eye and know they will pick me up. You have to rely on the other guys.”
Perez’s home run might be the most worrisome, because he has allowed homers in consecutive appearances. On Saturday, he was summoned to hold a 4-2 lead and yielded solo homers to Raul Ibanez and Smoak.
Of the homer he gave up to Chavez, Perez said, “It was a terrible pitch, and he put a pretty good swing on it. Maybe this is a little mini-slump; they happen once or twice a year.”
Perez has given up four earned runs this season on four solo homers. He gave up six home runs last year.
Despite his recent struggles, it’s doubtful that Perez is a victim of diminishing skills, unless he’s hurt, which does not seem to be the case.
“The good part is that he feels good, and he’s done this [save games] before,” Francona said. “When you’re a closer and you give up a home run, it’s glaring.”
Two relievers that got lost in all of Monday’s strange game were Bryan Shaw and Matt Albers, who each threw two scoreless innings.
“I hope they’re not forgotten in all this,” Francona said. “They came in and shut the door and gave us a chance.”