Heck, maybe that shellacking Tuesday in Detroit was exactly was the Mariners needed to get untracked on the road. They made it three victories in a row Friday by beating Cleveland 3-1 in the series opener at Progressive Field.
Robinson Cano and Ben Gamel each hit home runs against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco, and Ariel Miranda recovered from a shaky start by pitching into the sixth inning.
The Mariners then got 3 2/3 scoreless innings from James Pazos and Edwin Diaz in closing out the victory. Diaz has pitched in each of the last three games and seems to be better each time out.
Maybe manager Scott Servais was right; all Diaz needed to get straightened out was an increased workload.
Since that 19-9 loss on Tuesday, the Mariners have limited opponents to two runs and 12 hits over the last three games.
Three takeaways from Friday’s victory:
***Gamel steps up: Gamel has stepped in for an injury Mitch Haniger, and the Mariners haven't missed a beat. Gamel had a double and a homer Friday and scored two runs. He had a game-winning RBI single on Thursday in Detroit.
Haniger had emerged as a clear early leader to be the rookie of the year before he suffered a strained right oblique muscle in Tuesday’s loss. The word Friday from Seattle is that its a grade 2 strain with recovery time pegged at three-to-four weeks.
So far, anyway, the Mariners haven’t missed a beat with Gamel.
***Value beyond the numbers: Catcher Mike Zunino was hitless Friday in three at-bats, which dropped his average to .177. And, no, the Mariners really can’t live with that.
But here’s why the Mariners have Zunino on a long leash: He nursed an ineffective Miranda through the first two innings Friday by continuing to call for changeups and split-finger fastball — but doing so in relatively safe counts.
In short, Zunino didn’t allow Miranda to become one-dimensional. Miranda found a feel for his off-speed pitches in the third inning and was effective in using them on his next cycle through the Cleveland lineup.
Zunino had a hand in that success that is hard to quantify with numbers.
***Pazos powers up: Pazos pitched a career-high 2 1/3 innings after replacing Miranda with one out in the sixth inning. That length is important became the Mariners already have a matchup lefty in Marc Rzepczynski.
"He had really good rhythm tonight," Servais said. "I felt we had a little momentum going with him, so we rode him out as long as we could."
Pazos also had an upper-90s fastball that often overmatched the Indians. He now has nine clean sheets in 10 outings for a 1.64 ERA.
Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners