Second baseman Jason Kipnis ended a three-hour, 37-minute contest Friday night by ripping a three-run, walk-off homer off Lucas Luetge in the 10th inning, giving the Cleveland Indians a 6-3 victory over the Mariners in the first game of a four-game series at Progressive Field. The Mariners (20-22) had a chance to reach .500 for the first time since April 8, but Kipnis, hitting .236, made sure they didn’t.
In the 10th, after Cleveland’s Mark Reynolds struck out, Luetge came on and induced Michael Brantley to ground out. Drew Stubbs walked and stole second. Michael Bourn dribbled an infield single, the ball just far enough to the right of second baseman Dustin Ackley that he couldn’t make a play. Stubbs advanced to third.
Kipnis promptly delivered a line-drive, walk-off shot over the fence in right for the AL Central leaders.
The Indians reached Seattle’s rookie starter, Brandon Maurer, in the second inning after Nick Swisher walked. Following a Carlos Santana double, Jason Giambi hit a sacrifice fly that scored Swisher. Santana later scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead.
The Mariners trimmed the lead in the fourth on Kendrys Morales’s solo home run, his fifth, to right on a 2-0 count. The Mariners got two more runners aboard, but couldn’t convert.
Cleveland went up 3-1 in the fifth on Stubbs’ homer to right off Maurer on a 1-1 count. But Raul Ibanez, who hit two home runs and drove in six two nights ago in New York, had a two-run homer, his seventh, off Rich Hill in the sixth to tie it at 3.
Pitching dominated the rest of the game. Maurer departed after throwing 102 pitches, allowing three earned runs on six hits in 6.0 innings with six strikeouts and four walks. Charlie Furbush and Carter Capps held the Indians hitless over the next 3.1 innings. But the Mariners, who went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left 10 stranded, couldn’t generate more offense.
Ibanez was 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Brendan Ryan also continued a recent surge with two hits that lifted his average to .163.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, lefty Joe Saunders faces Indians RHP Zach McAllister.
NOTES: The Mariners Friday optioned Hector Noesi to AAA Tacoma and called up reliever Danny Farquhar from the Rainiers. To make room for Farquhar on the 40-man roster, the Mariners transferred Stephen Pryor from the 15-day to the 60-day DL . . . The Mariners scratched OF Michael Morse from the lineup due to an eye irritation. Morse, who has 10 home runs, is not expected to miss much playing time.