Reaction: Cleveland Indians’ Bullpen Shines in Extra-Inning Victory Over Seattle Mariners


Extra innings and a controversial twelfth inning didn’t distract the Indians in their quest for a series win over the Mariners, as they beat Seattle in a 6-3 extra-inning victory. Danny Salazar went 5.1 innings for the Tribe, allowing three runs on four hits and four walks, while striking out five. Meanwhile, J.A. Happ lasted five innings, giving up eight hits and a walk, but limiting the damage to two runs despite only striking out two batters. The game turned into a battle of the bullpens, as the Mariners used all of their pitchers and the Tribe used all but one.

Key Moments
Fifth Inning
Both pitchers worked their way through the first four and a half innings uneventfully, but it was Salazar who blinked first. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Logan Morrison led off with a single, and Brad Miller walked to put two runners on for Dustin Ackley. Ackley bunted up the third base line, and a throwing error by Mike Aviles allowed the first run of the game to score. Austin Jackson added on with an RBI single to right field, and the runners advanced to second and third on a balk by Salazar. With one down, Robinson Cano sent a fly ball to left field, giving Ackley plenty of time to tag and score, and putting the Mariners up 3-0.

Sixth Inning
After making a terrific catch to end a disastrous fifth inning, Ryan Raburn lead off the sixth inning and launched a long home run to right field. Brandon Moss and Yan Gomes followed with a pair of singles, and the Tribe loaded the bases when Aviles reached on what was meant to be a sacrifice bunt. Michael Bourn singled in a run, but the inning came to a screeching halt when Morrison turned a fantastic double play on a ball off of the bat of Jose Ramirez by stepping on first and throwing home for the second out.

Eighth Inning
Lonnie Chisenhall and Bourn hit back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning, with Chisenhall taking an extra base to put runners on the corners. With one out, Jason Kipnis hit a sacrifice fly to tie up the game at 3-3.

Twelfth Inning
The Indians caught a break in the twelfth inning, when the Mariners sent their last remaining reliever out to the mound. Dominic Leone walked Chisenhall and gave up a double to Ramirez, but Seattle was forced to let him pitch through his struggles. After he intentionally walked Kipnis to load the bases, he got Carlos Santana to hit an infield pop up. With two down, it looked like Leone might escape, but he walked Michael Brantley to give the Indians a lead. David Murphy lined a single to right field to plate two more runs, putting the Tribe ahead 6-3. Moss hit a controversial groundball to Morrison at first base which was originally called foul, but it was revised to fair (and an inning-ending out) after Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon complained and the umpires convened to discuss it. Terry Francona demanded an explanation, and after yet another meeting, the umpires refused to reverse the call again. The Indians played the remainder of the game under protest, but it ended up being a moot point since the Tribe won three outs later.

The Positives
Moss went 4-for-7, and Gomes, Bourn, Kipnis and Murphy all had multi-hit games as well. Carlos Santana returned to the lineup as the designated hitter, going 2-for-3 with two walks. The other positive was the bullpen, which did an amazing job of holding the Mariners from the sixth inning until the twelfth, when Austin Adams notched the first major league save of his career. The entire bullpen was stellar – Nick Hagadone, Ryan Webb, Bryan Shaw, Cody Allen, Zach McAllister and Adams combined for 6.2 scoreless innings of baseball, with the only base runners coming on a hit by Allen and two walks by McAllister.  That’s absolutely their most impressive work of the season.

The Negatives
Salazar only lasted 5.1 innings, and it really forced the bullpen into a tough situation. Shaun Marcum had a short night on Saturday, going just five innings as well, and the Tribe needed length from Salazar so that their relievers could get some rest. Add in the extra innings, and Sunday was especially rough on the Tribe’s bullpen. Luckily, Monday is an off day, but if it wasn’t, someone would likely have needed to be sent down in exchange for a fresh arm. Another negative? The number of runners left on base. The Indians left 17 runners, while the Mariners left just eight. If the Tribe had scored even a fraction of those runs, extra innings would not have been necessary, saving some of the relievers from having to pitch.

More from Away Back Gone

Check It Out
– Kipnis was 2-for-5 with a walk and a run scored on Sunday, giving him 51 hits and 30 runs in the month of May. He’s the first major league player to accomplish that feat since 2005, and his 51 hits set a franchise record. This month, he hit .429 with a .518 OBP, including 22 extra-base hits. If he isn’t the AL Player of the Month, MLB needs to reconfigure their criteria. Kipnis has been on fire, and it’s made a huge impact on the team’s record.

– The Tribe gets a much-needed day off on Monday, before they take on the Royals in Kansas City. Carlos Carrasco will go for the Indians, as he hopes to continue his successful season. The right-hander is now 6-4, with a 4.24 ERA, but he has a 1.93 ERA over his last two starts.

– Royals right-hander Jeremy Guthrie will be looking to rebound, after giving up 11 runs in one inning against the Yankees his last time out. Guthrie is 4-3 this season, but after his disastrous start in New York, the former Indian’s ERA has skyrocketed to 6.70.

Next: Solving the Cleveland Indians' Defensive Dilemma