Endy Chavez had two opportunities early in Friday’s game against Indians starter Trevor Bauer, only to leave four runners on base. In his fourth plate appearance, Chavez made amends.
In the seventh inning, Chavez hit a Bauer fastball over the fence in right field for his first home run in 13 months and 265 plate appearances. The solo shot was the decider in a 3-2 Mariners victory and gave the 28,084 in attendance at Safeco Field a reason to celebrate well before the post-game fireworks display.
The run was vital as closer Fernando Rodney, up 3-1, yielded a ninth-inning run on an RBI single by Michael Bourn. Rodney responded to get Asdrubal Cabrera to pop out to Brad Miller in shallow left for his 22nd save and return the M’s to six games over .500. It was Seattle’s (43-37) sixth win it its last seven games.
The Mariners bullpen, five in all, came up huge again despite the run Rodney allowed. The unit snuffed out a good scoring opportunity for Cleveland in the eighth when it put runners on second and third with two outs. But Charlie Furbush got the Indians’ hottest hitter, Lonnie Chisenhall, to ground out to second to stymie the threat.
His effort piggy-backed on the previous 2.2 innings of scoreless relief by Joe Beimel, Danny Farquhar and Yoervis Medina. The bullpen pitched four innings, giving up one run on three hits and two walks in support of starter Chris Young, who wasn’t very efficient Friday.
Young (7-4, 3.15 ERA) held the Indians to four hits and one run in five innings. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out four. But he continued his success at home where he is 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA and is holding opponents to a minuscule .173 batting average.
“I didn’t want to risk him going into the mid-100’s (in his pitch count),” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said of pulling Young after five innings. “We decided to go to the bullpen. They were rested and they were ready to go and we had the match-ups we wanted.
“It was a nice effort all around.”
Young improved to 5-1 with a 2.19 ERA at Safeco Field.
“It’s a good hitting club,” Young said of Cleveland. “They made me work. I wasn’t as sharp as I’d like to be and I probably got a little lucky tonight. They hit some balls hard right at guys. The bullpen came in and did a phenomenal job.
“The bullpen has been outstanding. They’re unbelievable. You just have complete faith in all of them.”
Seattle opened with a run in the first inning as Kyle Seager delivered a two-out single to score Chavez, who reached second after a leadoff single and stolen base.
Cleveland answered in the third when Michael Brantley hit a sacrifice fly to left with one out and the bases loaded. That scored David Murphy from third, but left Bourn and Cabrera stranded at second and first, where they would remain as Young got Santana to line out to first.
In the fourth, the M’s regained the lead as Miller hit a clutch two-out single into center to score Michael Saunders from second. Saunders, recalled from Triple-A Tacoma prior to Friday’s game, made his first start since hitting the 15-day disabled list June 11 with inflammation in his shoulder and went 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
Bauer pitched 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits and five strikeouts, failing to get the first road win of his career. In seven previous road starts, Bauer was 0-4 with a 7.53 ERA.
Seager continued his torrid hitting at Safeco in June. With a 3-for-4 game Friday, Seager has hit safely in his last eight home games with a .613 batting average, six doubles, three home runs and 16 RBI.
Saunders took the 25-man roster spot of DH/1B Jesus Montero ,who was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after Wednesday’s game. Montero batted 3-for-8 with a home run in three starts while with the club for two weeks . . . LHP James Paxton (shoulder inflammation, lat strain) returned to the mound for the first time in more than a month with a 25-pitch bullpen Friday. Paxton said he feels good and will progress to longer pitch counts in his next two sessions beginning Monday before facing live hitters potentially by next weekend . . . The Indians will recall LHP T. J. House to face Felix Hernandez in the series finale Sunday.