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Indians rally late to defeat Mariners 10-8, sweep four-game series

Tribe comes back to stun Seattle on another walk-off win

Indians rally late to defeat Mariners 10-8, sweep four-game series
May 20, 2013
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CLEVELAND, OH-Crazy may be in fact an understatement to describe the series finale between the Indians and Mariners Monday afternoon.

Ten innings and three hours and forty-eight minutes later, Cleveland would come out with their biggest win of the season, defeating Seattle 10-8 pulling it off once again in dramatic fashion.

Down one run in the tenth, Tribe catcher Yan Gomes delivered on a walk-off three run homer to give Cleveland yet another victory and four-game series sweep of Seattle. For Gomes, it was not only his fourth long ball of the season, but second home run of the game.

“Moments like that you just want to get back to your teammates,” Gomes said. “You just want to run around and make sure you don’t miss a base. It was exciting.”

Exciting is one way to describe it, as Gomes’ walk-off blast became the third walk-off for Cleveland in the four-game series.

“Once you do it a few times, it breeds confidence.” Francona said of late inning magic. “Whether it’s picking each other up or something, it’s just getting contagious.”

Winners of 18 of their last 22 games, the Indians (26-17) move two and a half games ahead of the Detroit Tigers for first place in the AL Central.

To notch another come from behind victory would not be easy, as the game saw seven lead changes between both clubs before the Wahoo’s came out on top.

“That’s the best game I’ve ever been a part of,” Indians closer Chris Perez said.

While it may have been the best game in terms of pulling out a team victory, it was once again a forgettable performance by Perez at the center of the diamond.

With the game knotted at six in the ninth inning, Perez gave up a solo homer to Mariners pinch hitter Endy Chavez to put the M’s up by one. It was the closer’s second blown save in the last three days. The solo blast also came just one inning after Indians setup man Vinnie Pestano gave up a solo home run of his own to third baseman Kyle Seager in the eighth.

Like they have done all season long with a never die attitude, the Tribe offense would come roaring back just a half inning later.

“It’s a really good feeling when as a ballclub you feel like you’re going to win, even when things don’t go exactly as planned,” Francona said.

With two outs and runners at the corners, designated hitter Carlos Santana reached base after Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen couldn’t secure the would be final out on a groundball covering first.

It was the right-hander’s first blown save of the season in 12 save opportunities.

As the game headed into extra innings, Francona turned to sidearm specialist Joe Smith in the tenth only to yield another lead change on yet another solo home run. This time blast came from Mariners first baseman Justin Smoak, who took a 1-1 pitch by Smith with two outs to the second deck in right field to give the M’s the one run lead again.

But the day belonged to the Tribe, as Mariners lefty Charlie Furbush was unable to record an out in the bottom half of the tenth before Gomes won it with one swing of the bat.  

“He played a very good game,” Francona said of his catcher. “Behind the plate he threw the ball extremely well and his at-bats speak for themselves.”

Finishing the game 3-for-5 with two home runs and four RBI, Gomes is now hitting .302 with four homers and nine RBI on the season.

His bat may have won the game, but the Brazilian native also flashed some leather throwing out two runners stealing second in the ballgame

“I’m not letting anything get to me,” Gomes said. I’m still backing up Santana either way, so I’m doing everything I can to help the team win, and it’s working out.”

The catcher also shed some light on what may have caused his stellar performance on Monday.

“I had a beet juice. I guess I’ll keep having that,” Gomes said.

The right-handed hitter has now thrown out six of nine runners behind the plate.

It was a rough afternoon for starter Scott Kazmir, as he would log just three innings for his shortest outing of the season. The left-hander simply didn’t have it, as Seattle hitters would jump on him for yielding five runs on seven hits through the first three frames.

Relievers Matt Albers and Bryan Shaw would pick up their teammate as they combined to go four scoreless innings in relief of Kazmir, giving up just two hits striking out five.

“I hope it doesn’t get overshadowed,” Francona said of the job by Albers and Shaw. “They came in, shut the door and gave us a chance.”

Offensively, Cleveland slugged out 10 runs on 11 hits, as four of their starting nine collected multi-hit games. The Tribe battled against M’s starter Hisashi Iwakuma, tagging him for five runs on seven hits through six innings.

Coming into Monday with a 1.84 ERA, the five runs Cleveland would score against the Japanese right-hander was the most he has given up in a single start all season.

Down two runs in the second inning, the Indians used the long ball to help them claw their way back. With two outs and runners on first and second, right fielder Ryan Raburn came through with a three-run blast to the bleachers to give the Indians their first lead of the game. Just three pitches later, Gomes took a trip to the left field seats himself, going back-to-back with Raburn on his first homer of the game.

Signed to a minor league contract this offseason, the 32-year-old Raburn is hitting .299 with five homers and 14 RBI in 27 games.

Not too be overlooked in the victory was the defensive play of first baseman Nick Swisher. The switch-hitting slugger threw out Mariners second baseman Robert Adino trying to score the go-ahead run in the fourth inning on a groundball in the infield.

In what was a seesaw battle of one-run leads until the Gomes walk-off homer in the tenth, Swisher’s play at the plate proves to be even bigger in the victory.

It’s wins like these that definitely give both the team and the 19,390 in attendance hope that this is not just another year.

“It’s just the guys we have in the clubhouse,” Perez said. “That last rally started with the bottom of our order. Our lineup is full of veterans in the middle of their careers, who have had success and failures and bounced back, and know they’re going to be here tomorrow.”

Tribe fans have seen a hot start from their hometown faithful before the last two years, only to collapse down the stretch.

The Indians closer wants fans to know this year is different.

“It’s a different feeling,” Perez said. “We’re a good team with good chemistry where everybody gets along. We haven’t had that type of comradery here so it’s fun.”

Notes: Indians starter Justin Masterson was named the American League Player of the Week after his two straight scoreless starts. The right-hander went 2-0 pitching 16 scoreless innings and striking out 20….With a record of 21-7 in their last 28 games, Cleveland owns the highest winning percentage in Major League Baseball since April 20 at .750….Monday marked the first time the Indians have swept the Mariners in a four game series since August 1981.

Follow Jim on Twitter @JBirdman27 or he can be reached via email at jberdysz27@gmail.com.

User Comments

Jim Berdysz
May 21, 2013 - 8:18 PM EDT
Thanks Steve as always!

Lookin good so far against them Kitties from Motown, Kluber's been lights out!

Everything, I mean everything seems to be working out in favor of the Tribe. From Raburn, to Aviles, to definitely Yan Gomes...even Giambi has made his presence known around the clubhouse. And you're right Rich, the only player who hasn't panned out is Chiz.

I was never in the Tribe clubhouse prior to this season, but from what people tell me this is the best it's been in a long long time, it's definitely been a great atmosphere to be in and has shown on the field.
Steve
May 21, 2013 - 9:53 AM EDT
Great game and great game recap Jim!!

Now its time to turn the Tigers into "KITTY LITTER"

GO TRIBE!!!
Rich
May 21, 2013 - 8:40 AM EDT
Gomes and Raburn have been amazing this year.

Raburn had only one HR all last season and he has five already this year. He's on pace to equal his best season, which was 2009.

2009 261 AB's, 16 HR, 45 RBI, .291/.892
2013 87 AB's, 5 HR, 14 RBI, .299/.898

IOW, he's hitting great but he's done this before, and for a full season as a platoon player. His 2013 numbers are virtually identical to his 2009 numbers.

Mark Reynolds also seems to be having a career season. But he's also put up numbers like this before, so it's not like what these guys are doing is unsustainable.

Letting Gomes go as a throw-in on the Esmil Rogers for Mike Aviles trade was a huge mistake by the Blue Jays. This kid Gomes can play. He's thrown out 6-of-9 base runners and his OPS is an incredible .951. I'm assuming that number will come down once pitchers figure out how to pitch to him, but there's no denying he has a beautiful swing and generates a lot of power.

Aviles has an OPS of .789, which is excellent for a utility infielder/outfielder.

The contributions of the guys on the bench have been huge. Not to mention the guys at the bottom of the bullpen. Albers and Shaw pitched four scoreless innings on a day when the top relievers and the starter didn't have their best stuff.

It's fun when everybody is contributing. The only guy who has been a disappointment is Chisenhall.
Joseph
May 21, 2013 - 7:27 AM EDT
That was an exciting game. This team is starting to remind me of the 95 team in that you felt like they would win every game. I know it's early in the season, but this team may have it.
Bric
May 21, 2013 - 12:05 AM EDT
Front office is easily the best in baseball this year.
Some of the signings were pretty safe, but adding Yan Gomes was not expected to pay off in this way.
Gomes throws more like Johnny Bench than a converted infielder still learning the ropes.
His ability to play multiple positions, his power, and the way he conducts himself offer major help to this team.

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