Mariners Insider Blog

Mariners 7, Indians 1: Cruz’s two homers help end skid at four games

Nelson Cruz hit two homers Tuesday in helping the Mariners snap four-game losing streak.
Nelson Cruz hit two homers Tuesday in helping the Mariners snap four-game losing streak. AP

SEATTLE — Here, finally, was that complete game the Mariners have been waiting for. A strong outing from their starting pitcher, plenty of muscle from their lineup and no defensive breakdowns.

The result was a 7-1 victory Tuesday over the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field that snapped a four-game skid.

A new-look Wade Miley (6-2) bounced back from a fortuitous no-decision in his last start — when the Mariners erased a 10-run deficit at San Diego — by pitching seven shutout innings.

"Attack," Miley said. "I had some things going on mechanically

and (pitching coach) Mel (Stottlemyre Jr.) did a great job of pulling me to the side and working on a few things. Felt a whole lot better out there."

Nelson Cruz fueled a balanced attack by hitting two home runs, but the game turned when the Mariners, already leading 2-0, capitalized on a two-out gift in the fourth inning.

The Mariners had runners at first and second when Adam Lind hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Francisco Lindor, who handled the ball cleanly before hesitating on the throw.

Lindor appeared to want to go to second for a force, but Jason Kipnis was overshifted against Lind and not in position. Lind then beat Lindor’s belated throw to first, which loaded the bases.

"I could kind of see the play develop," Lind said. "Just doing what you do, and what you’re told since you’re a kid, run hard."

Steve Clevenger followed with a two-run double to right, and Shawn O’Malley backed it up with a two-run triple into left-center gap. The Mariners led 6-0, and the Indians went to the bullpen.

"I had seen Anderson in Cleveland," Clevenger said. "I was kind of looking for his change-up in that situation. He threw me one out and over the plate that I could handle."

Cruz’s first homer was a two-out blast in the first inning against Tribe starter Cody Anderson, who was recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Columbus when shoulder fatigue sidelined Danny Salazar.

Anderson (1-4) gave up six runs in 3 2/3 innings.

Cruz’s second homer of the game, and 15th of the season, came with two outs and none aboard in the fifth inning against reliever Jeff Manship.

"He’s in a good spot," manager Scott Servais said. "He’s seeing the ball really well. When he’s using a big part of the field, and not trying to pull everything, is when he’s on. His timing is really good right now.

"When he rolls, it’s a special bat."

Joaquin Benoit replaced Miley to start the eighth inning and let the shutout slip away when he yielded a one-out homer to Lonnie Chisenhall. Steve Cishek closed out the victory with a scoreless ninth.

"Miley threw the ball really good," Cruz said, "and that’s what we need. It’s nice to see the offense wake up. We put all of the tools together."

PLAY OF THE GAME: Oh, you’ll see it on the highlight reels. And it’s painful to watch. Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes left the game in the second inning when hit in the groin by a foul tip off the bat of Dae-Ho Lee.

The official announcement on the injury: testicular contusion.

"We sent him to the hospital to get an ultrasound and he’s still there," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "He hasn't had the ultrasound yet and, hopefully, we can get (some information) fairly soon.

"I don’t think he's probably having the best night of his life."

PLUS: Wade Miley provided the Mariners with their third straight quality start after a stretch in which in the rotation gave up 67 runs in 71 innings over the 13 previous games…catcher Steve Clevenger threw out Jason Kipnis on an attempted steal following a leadoff walk in the fourth inning. Clevenger has thrown out five of 16 base-stealers…Robinson Cano had singles in his first two at-bats in his first game after the end of his 34-game streak of reaching base at least once…Shawn O’Malley went 2-for-3 with a walk as a late replacement for shortstop Ketel Marte.

MINUS: Seth Smith tried to stretch a single into a double in the first inning and was thrown out by right fielder Lonnie Chisenhall…Nori Aoki was hitless in five at-bats.

STAT PACK: Nelson Cruz has 18 multi-homer games in his career…Clevenger had some success against Indians starter Cody Anderson prior to his two-run double in the fourth inning. Clevenger had a two-run homer and a single in two at-bats against Anderson on April 21 in Cleveland…Wade Miley is 6-0 in his last nine starts.

QUOTABLE: Mariners starter Wade Miley sported a new look since his last start — when he gave up nine runs and 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings at San Diego. His beard was gone, and his hair was trimmed significantly.

"I was just tired of it," he said. "My wife was getting on me. Every year at some point I do this, whether it’s because I’m struggling or I just get tired of it.

“Probably about this time last year since I’ve been clean-shaven. I kept the little goatee. I’ve got double chin real bad, so I need something to hide it."

SHORT HOPS: Shortstop Ketel Marte said he hopes to play Wednesday after being scratched from Tuesday’s lineup because of neck spasms. "When it started to hurt," he said, "I couldn’t do anything. Now, it’s a lot better. I feel good. It’s crazy. I don’t know what happened."…the Indians had won six in a row before Tuesday’s loss.

Bob Dutton: @TNT_Mariners