CLEVELAND — Danny Farquhar’s debut with the Seattle Mariners went slightly better than his major league debut in 2011 with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Back then, Farquhar lasted two-thirds of an inning, giving up three runs on four hits with two walks. He would pitch just two more times in the big leagues with Toronto that season.
But if he continues to pitch like he did Saturday, Farquhar could be a nice contributor from the bullpen for the Mariners. The diminutive, hard-throwing right-hander pitched 2 2/3; shutout innings, did not allow a hit and struck out five batters.
He looked dominant against a good Indians lineup and, more importantly, allowed the Mariners to rally to tie the game in the ninth before they lost in the bottom of the ninth, 5-4, at Progressive Field.
“He really competed out there and he had good stuff,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He kept us in the ballgame. It was a great first outing.”
Farquhar replaced Joe Saunders in the sixth inning, coming into the game with one out and runners on first and second.
“I was a little nervous,” Farquhar said.
Farquhar struck out Asdrubal Cabrera looking and then got Nick Swisher to ground out to end the inning.
“It felt good to get out of that situation,” Farquhar said.
Farquhar hadn’t thrown in five days but showed little rust. He got ahead of hitters and put them away, using a fastball that touched 95 mph.
“Getting ahead of a hitter is just crucial,” he said. “It’s crazy how much easier to pitch when you are ahead. You can relax and let those two-strike pitches eat and just throw as hard as you can to your spot.”
RYAN’S BAT WARMS UP
With a hard-hit single in the third inning, Brendan Ryan was able to extend his hitting streak.
Yes, implausible as it might seem, Ryan has hit in five straight games. And while he isn’t challenging Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game streak, it is improvement.
“I’m just trying to stay committed to the approach and swing at good pitches,” he said. “I’m just finding the barrel a little bit better.”
But Ryan’s highlight came in the eighth inning, when he hit a two-run homer to left field through a driving wind. It was his first homer since Sept. 12 last season and the 16th of his career.
“I don’t even know what I hit,” he said.
The home run gave Ryan back-to-back games with extra-base hits after his double on Friday night. He had gone 109 plate appearances without an extra-base hit. Over the five games, he has raised his average from .122 to .178, going 8-for-18.
Saunders has yet to pitch a one-two-three inning in any of his road starts. … Justin Smoak got his team-leading 24th walk of the season. He has 12 walks in his last 12 games. … Kendrys Morales extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games. … Jason Bay appeared in center field for the first time since Sept. 20, 2005, in the eighth inning. It was his 41st career game in center field, including 37 starts.
It will be a dandy pitching duel on Sunday. The Mariners will send right-hander Felix Hernandez (5-2, 1.53 ERA) to the mound to oppose Indians right-hander Justin Masterson (6-2, 3.14) at 10:05 a.m. The game will be broadcast on Root Sports, 1030-AM and 710-AM.