The Indians did just enough on Sunday to beat the Mariners 6-4 and sweep their second straight series in the process. The win is also the seventh straight for the Tribe. They now stand at 7-2 and first place all by themselves in the AL Central, a game ahead of the rival White Sox.
Josh Tomlin was great once again. He pitched 6.2 innings, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits. Seattle never really had an answer for him. It’s the second straight start in which Tomlin has looked like the real deal. If he keeps pitching like this, it makes you begin to wonder how far the Indians can really got this year and in the future. Absolutely awesome job by Josh Tomlin.
The Mariners countered with left hander Eric Bedard. Things didn’t go so well for the former Orioles ace. Bedard gave up 6 runs in only 4 innings of work. He was erratic walking 6 and never seemed to find a groove. It’s hard to believe at one point he was thought to be an elite pitcher and hoped to be the long time ace for the Mariners moving forward when they acquired him from the Orioles.
The Indians did their damage early, jumping out to a big lead in the early stages and then holding on. Asdrubal Cabrera hit another 1st inning home run to get things started. Shelley Duncan followed with an RBI single and the Indians were up 2-0. In the second, back to back doubles by Marson and Brantley led to a 3-0 lead and a single by Asdrubal made it 4-0. In the third, Shin-Soo Choo scored on a rare throwing error by Ichiro to make the score 5-0. Jack Hannahan would then end the Indians scoring the following inning with a solo shot out to right. The Mariners hit a pair of homers and manufactured another run, but could never get close then the 6-4 final.
Chad Durbin, Rafael Perez, and Tony Sipp followed up Tomlin from the bullpen and Chris Perez retired the Mariners in order for the second straight day to earn his fourth save of the year. It was a great game all around.
The key to the series against Seattle was all about getting out to leads early and putting the pressure on the Mariners and their pitching staff. Playing from ahead is so much easier than playing from behind. It’s demoralizing to have to come to the plate in the bottom of the 1st in three straight games and already be down multiple runs. That’s what faced the Mariners this weekend and ultimately that’s what did them in.
Kudos goes out to Asdrubal Cabrera. He had a monster series. He helped get the Indians out to big early leads with home runs and timely hitting. If he keeps this up, he may very well find himself on the all-star team. I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I’ve been with him early on this season. He has come a long way from the rookie on the 2007 team. He’s no longer an offensive liability, he’s a legit threat.
The Indians will travel to Anaheim to take on the Angels in a three game series starting tonight. They’ll look to continue their winning ways and keep a strangle hold on first place in the central. It should also be a good test to see where exactly the Indians stand. The wins over Boston and Seattle were impressive in their own right, but we have to be realists here. Boston was off to an 0 for the century type of start and Seattle is quite possibly the worst team in the AL. Anaheim is usually a contender and has a lot more talent both in their lineup and in their starting rotation than the Mariners. If they can come away from this series with 2 more wins I’ll be happy. A sweep and I’ll be over the moon excited.