A walk-off home run by Yan Gomes, a devastating three-run shot off Charlie Furbush in the 10th inning, gave the Cleveland Indians a stunning 10-8 victory and a sweep of their four-game series with Seattle at Progressive Field. The Mariners suffered three-walk off defeats in the series, and a meltdown by ace Felix Hernandez.
They also witnessed Monday a meltdown by their No. 2 starter, Hisashi Iwakuma, but were able to battle back long after he departed to make a game of it, only to blow it.
The Mariners had home runs in the eighth (Kyle Seager), ninth (Endy Chavez) and 10th innings (Justin Smoak) Monday that either enabled them to tie or take the lead. But after taking an 8-7 lead into the bottom of the 10th, Furbush couldn’t hold it.
He went 3-0 on Cleveland’s No. 7 hitter, Michael Brantley, who flared a single to center. Drew Stubbs reached first when Smoak dropped the ball at first on a routine grounder. Then, on a full count, Gomes ripped the ball over the wall in left for the game-winning home run. It was Gomes’ second long ball of the game.
The Mariners (20-25) have lost a season-high four games after briefly moving into second place in the AL West earlier in the week.
Seattle went ahead 2-0, trailed 4-2, 5-2, tied at 5, trailed 6-5 and evened at 6 when Seager homered to right on a full count, his sixth of the year. Chavez gave the Mariners a 7-6 lead in the ninth when, pinch-hittingh for Kelly Shoppach, he hit a ball over the center field wall, Seattle’s first pinch homer since June, 2012, when Franklin Gutierrez vs. Arizona.
Closer Tom Wilhelmsen came on in the ninth with an opportunity to record his 12th save in 12 chances and immediately induced Michael Bourn to line out. But Jason Kipnis, who had a walk-off hit to beat the Mariners in Game 1 of the series, reached on an error by second baseman Robert Andino.
Nick Swisher flared a ball to right that fell in for a hit, sending Kipnis to third with the tying run, which Cleveland collected when Wilhelmsen, covering the bag at first, dropped a throw from Smoak, allowing Kipnis to score the tying run.
Smoak hit one of the longest home runs of his career in the 10th, a second-deck blast that extended his hitting streak to five games. But Furbush fell on his sword when Gomes came to the plate a half an inning later. Had Furbush gotten the job done, he would have recorded his first major league save.
At least Iwakuma didn’t absorb his second loss against five wins. He allowed five earned runs (two homers), but was gone long before the issue was decided. As it was, he departed with an ERA of 2.37, up from 1.84. When the four-game series began, Iwakuma and Hernandez had a 1.68 ERA in a combined 18 starts.
The Mariners staked Iwakuma to a 2-0 lead in the the first on an RBI double to left by Kendrys Morales, scoring Jason Bay, and Michael Morse’s RBI single that brought home Morales. But Iwakuma, who retired the first four Cleveland hitters he faced, was roughed up in the second.
After Carlos Santana doubled, Iwakuma walked Brantley on four pitches. Ryan Raburn followed a three-run homer and Gomes added a solo shot for a 4-2 lead.
The Mariners tied it in the third on another RBI single by Morales and a ground ball by Morse that plated Seager, whe doubled.
Cleveland regained the lead 5-4 in the third when Brantley singled, scoring Nick Swisher, who opened with a double. The Mariners answered with the tying run in the fourth when backup catcher Shoppach scored on Saunders’ fielder’s choice.
Iwakuma departed after six innings and Yoervis Medina came on and couldn’t get out of his own way, throwing just nine strikes to 13 balls. His first walk, to Bourn, came around to score, giving for 6-5 lead. Seager ripped a line-drive homer in the eighth to tie the game at 6.
The Mariners open a two-game series with the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday night, will take a day off Thursday and begin a three-game series with the AL West-leading Texas Rangers Friday night at Safeco Field.
NOTES: Manager Eric Wedge said Monday that Aaron Harang will make his scheduled start Tuesday in Anaheim. Harang has been bothered by a stiff back. Harang is 1-4 with a 7.30 ERA in five games since he was acquired in a trade with the Colorado Rockies April 12 . . . In the first three losses of the series, the Mariners went 1-for-20 (.050) with runners in scoring position.