LF Nori Aoki’s two-run triple in the second, RHP Taijuan Walker’s six splendid innings, and a strong effort by the bullpen keyed the Mariners’ 2-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians Wednesday night at Progressive Field. The Mariners (6-8) managed three hits over the final seven innings, but snapped a two-game losing streak (box).
The win marked only the 28th time in the franchise’s 40-year history that Seattle won with three or fewer hits.
1B Adam Lind opened the second with a single and C Chris Iannetta followed with a walk. Aoki ripped a two-out triple over the first-base bag off starter Danny Salazar for a 2-0 cushion they didn’t relinquish thanks to Walker’s excellent start and the scoreless relief provided by Joel Peralta, Joaquin Benoit and closer Steve Cishek, who notched his second save.
Aoki’s triple was his second of the nine-game road trip. He’s batting .228 . . . 2B Robinson Cano went 0-for-4, snapping at 16 his consecutive road-game streak in which he had a hit. The streak started Sept. 18 . . . The Mariners have scored three or fewer runs 10 times in 14 games . . . The Mariners went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position. For the season, they are 19-for-100, a .190 average.
Walker, who earned his first win of the season, pitched one of the best games of his career, allowing three hits with six strikeouts and no walks in six innings. He allowed an unearned run in the third, threw a career-high 110 pitches and lowered his ERA from 2.25 to 1.50. He also improved to 6-1 in his career against the AL Central. Walker beat Cleveland three times in a row, allowing one earned run in 20 innings over three appearances . . . Peralta worked a scoreless seventh (one strikeout, one walk). Benoit, who had been day-to-day, added a scoreless eighth . . . Salazar was almost as effective as Walker, allowing three hits over seven innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
“There was outstanding pitching on both sides tonight. Walker had a great outing for us. It’s great to see a young guy with that kind of talent. Our bullpen was in lockdown. Cishek really stepped up for us in one of his most dominating outings.” — Scott Servais, Mariners manager
“We had great efforts from Peralta and Benoit. It’s great to have Benoit back. I just wanted to build on what they did, and I’m going to try to build off innings like this.” — Steve Cishek, Mariners closer, after his 1-2-3 ninth
The Mariners are 2-5 in one-run games and are 4-2 following a five-game losing streak . . . The Mariners, 1-5 at home, are 5-3 on the road . . . The Mariners are 2-8 when scoring three or fewer runs . . . Utility INF Luis Sardinas received the start at shortstop Wednesday in place of SS Ketel Marte, who hit .186 in his first 12 games. Servais said Marte is working with hitting coach Edgar Martinez. “He just really hasn’t gotten in a good groove yet,” Servais said . . . C Mike Zunino’s 10-game hitting streak with AAA Tacoma ended Wednesday with an 0-for-4. Zunino, Seattle’s starting catcher last year, is batting .412 with the Rainiers.
The series wraps Thursday with a 9:10 a.m., PT first pitch. RHP Nathan Karns (1-1, 4.50) will throw for Seattle opposite RHP Cody Anderson (0-1, 5.91). Karns is 1-1 in two career starts against Cleveland, both with Tampa Bay. The Mariners begin a three-game, weekend series at Anaheim Friday against the Angels.