Other than solo home runs by Kendrys Morales and Mike Zunino, the Mariners didn’t do much offensively Monday night, but an effective outing from Aaron Harang was enough to give Seattle a 2-1 squeaker over the Cleveland Indians at Safeco Field. The Mariners have won a season-high seven in a row and are one win away from their longest winning streak since August.
Playing without hospitalized manager Eric Wedge, Seattle improved to 47-52 and moved to within five games of .500 for the first time since May 20. In addition to the seven-game winning streak, longest in the majors, Seattle has won 12 of its last 17.
The Mariners extended their July roll — they are 12-5 — without Wedge, taken to a local hospital before Monday night’s game as a precaution after what was described as a “dizzy spell” during pre-game batting practice.
Bench coach Robby Thompson filled in for Wedge, who is expected to return Tuesday.
“He’s fine, he’s been evaluated by our doctors, everything looks good, really good,” general manager Jack Zduriencik said. “What we’re doing is, we’ll be very cautious about this. He’s going to get checked again tonight.”
Morales (15th) and Zunino (second) homered in the fourth and fifth innings, and Harang, who allowed one long ball two batters into the game, notched his first win since July 5. Tom Wilhelmsen had a shaky ninth inning, but recorded his 22nd save in 27 chances in a game that flew by in two hours, 35 minutes.
Nick Swisher homered in the first, giving Cleveland a 1-0 lead, and starter Ubaldo Jimenez kept Seattle in check until the fourth when Morales hit one off the windows of the Hit It Here cafe. It was Morales’ first home run since July 12.
Zunino came back an inning later with a solo shot off Jimenez on an 0-and-2 count. The homer was Zunino’s first at Safeco Field.
From there, pitching dominated. Harang worked 7 innings, allowed one run on four hits with two strikeouts and a walk and left with a 2-1 lead, ultimately improving to 5-8, 5.06. The Mariners are 6-10 in games started by Harang.
Charlie Furbush took over in the eighth and retired the Indians on nine pitches, setting the stage for Wilhelmsen, who needed 23 pitches to close the door.
After retiring Asdrubal Cabrera on a fly to right, Wilhelmsen gave up a long double to Michael Brantley over Raul Ibanez in left. Wilhelmsen got Carlos Santana on a ground ball to second, but walked Jason Giambi before inducing Lonnie Chisenhall to fly to right.
Seattle managed six hits with Zunino providing the only multi-hit game. Brad Miller, named Monday the American League Player of the Week, went 0-for-4, and Michael Saunders went 0-for-3 and saw his 10-game hitting streak snapped.
The series continues Tuesday night. RHP Erasmo Ramirez (0-0, 13.50), shelled in his first start after his recall from AAA Tacoma, will pitch against RHP Zach McAllister (4-5, 3.43).
Following the series, which ends Wednesday, the Mariners host the Minnesota Twins in a four-game set starting Friday night.
NOTES: After the game drew just 18,000, the Mariners post-game announced they were dropping ticket prices for Tuesday’s game by $7 — in honor of the win streak — on Main, Club and View Level seats. Online buyers can use the promo code STREAK . . . Outfielder Michael Morse made a rehab start Monday night as the designated hitter for AAA Tacoma. Morse hasn’t played since being placed on the disabled list with a strained right quad, retroactive to June 21 . . . OF Franklin Gutierrez will make his first rehab start Tuesday for Tacoma. On the DL sine June 22, Gutierrez has missed at least 50 games each season for the past three years . . . The American League named Brad Miller its Player of the Week Monday after Miller hit .385 with two home runs and seven RBIs in a three-game sweep of the Houston Astros. Miller is the first Mariner to win the award since Felix Hernandez received it after throwing his perfect game in August.