SEATTLE (AP) — Robinson Cano was able to leisurely blow a bubble with his gum as part of his home run trot for the first time since April 14.
Even Cano going deep couldn’t make up for the Seattle Mariners other missed chances at the plate.
Cano hit a two-run homer in the third inning, but Seattle was just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and lost 4-3 to the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.
Seattle was trying to climb above .500 for the first time since winning on opening day, but was playing from behind from the start and couldn’t come up with the key hits late. The most damaging was Kyle Seager striking out against Cleveland reliever Nick Hagadone to end the seventh inning with the bases loaded.
“I felt like we had opportunities tonight. We just couldn’t get it done,” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said.
Jerry Sands hit a two-run homer off Seattle starter Roenis Elias, David Murphy added a pinch-hit RBI single, and the Indians clinched at least a split of the four-game series.
Seattle was trying to climb above .500 for the first time since winning on opening day, but was playing from behind from the start. Sands, called up from Triple-A Columbus on Thursday, homered on a 1-2 pitch from Elias (2-2) in the second inning, driving the ball into the Mariners’ bullpen in left field to give Cleveland a 3-0 lead.
“It was just a bad day,” Elias said through an interpreter. “I didn’t have a good change up. Just overall didn’t feel good.”
McClendon said Elias was bothered by a stiff back but was able to work through it. Elias was pulled with one out in the sixth after giving up a double to Brandon Moss to put runners at second and third. Elias allowed only five hits but struggled with his control, walking a season-high four, two of whom scored. The 5 1/3 innings pitched was his shortest outing of his seven starts.
“I think the thing that hurt him more than anything was the walks,” McClendon said. “Two of the four walks scored, it’s not a good sign.”
The upside for Seattle was Cano’s long ball, a two-run shot in the third inning off Cleveland starter Shaun Marcum. After missing two games with an inner ear infection, Cano snapped a string of 171 plate appearances without a homer, tying the longest streak of his career.
“Hopefully he’s turned a page,” McClendon said. “That’s big for us. When we’ve got 3-4-5 swinging the bat the way they are capable of, we are a different ball club.”
Marcum (2-0) lasted just 5 1/3 innings, but did enough to get his second victory in his fourth start. Marcum allowed five hits, but struck out five and gave up only Cano’s homer. Cody Allen got the final four outs for his 11th save.
HIGHS AND LOWS
Seager doubled twice for Seattle, but was stranded at third base both times. He was also thrown out at third trying to advance on Logan Morrison’s base-hit with no outs in the fourth and left the bases loaded in the seventh.
Brad Miller doubled leading off the seventh, snapping an 0-for-23 skid and scored on the next pitch when Dustin Ackley singled up the middle. Austin Jackson reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to third when Cano singled with two outs. Nelson Cruz walked to load the bases, but Hagadone entered and struck out Seager.
Indians: IF Carlos Santana will rejoin the team and be in the lineup Sunday after staying in Cleveland following the birth of his daughter earlier this week.
Mariners: LHP James Paxton will be completely shut down from any throwing for two weeks dealing with a strained tendon in the middle finger of his left hand. Paxton was wearing a small splint on the finger and can do conditioning, just no throwing, until he’s re-examined.
Indians: Danny Salazar (5-1) will make his first career start against Seattle. He is currently sixth in the American League in strikeouts and has the highest strikeouts per nine innings ratio (12.04) in baseball.
Mariners: J.A. Happ (3-1) hasn’t lost in his last seven starts, but also does not have a victory since May 9. Happ allowed three earned runs in six innings last time out against Tampa Bay.