C Chris Iannetta hit two home runs and added an RBI double, and starter Taijuan Walker threw eight scoreless innings while tying his career high with 11 strikeouts as the Mariners shut down Cleveland again, 5-0, Wednesday night at Safeco Field (box).
Walker benefited from a big defensive play when RF Franklin Gutierrez made a catch running into the wall in the seventh, but the image that best defined the performance came after Cleveland’s Lonnie Chisenhall went down swinging to end the fourth. Walker blew a 96-mile-per hour fastball past Chisenhall, who slammed his bat, then his helmet, into the dirt. It was that kind of night for the Indians, thanks to Walker.
Walker allowed three hits in maybe his most impressive outing of the season. He was in control all game, retiring the first nine batters before pitching out of a minor jam in the fourth. Walker (3-6) finished as he started, sitting down the final nine batters before coming out of the game after 110 pitches. He earned his first win since April 25.
Reliever Nick Vincent finished off, striking out two in the ninth, giving the Indians 13 strikeouts.
Iannetta, in his first start since committing a costly error in Monday’s loss, carried the offense with his fourth and fifth home runs of the season. It marked the first time since May 2011 that Iannetta has homered twice in the same game and the second time in two nights that a Mariner hit multiple homers (Nelson Cruz on Tuesday). He added an RBI double in the seventh as Iannetta drove in the first four runs.
SS Ketel Marte, back after missing Tuesday’s game with neck spasms, went 2-for-3 with a pair of stolen bases. 2B Robinson Cano also had a pair of hits.
“The starting pitchers were in a little slump, a little funk, then Kuma (Hisashi Iwakuma) that last game in Texas, picked us up. Then (James) Paxton and (Wade) Miley. We knew we had to pick it up, and we did.” – Walker, on the struggles of the starting pitchers going into this week
Over the past two games, Cleveland has nine hits and one run . . . The Indians were shut out for the first time since May 7 . . . Cleveland was without C Yan Gomes, who had a testicular contusion – great name for a punk band, but a horrible way to come out of a game – from a foul tip in Tuesday’s second inning. Gomes Wednesday was sitting on the Indians’ bench, probably wishing he was on a couch somewhere with a large bag of ice, while Chris Gimenez got the start . . . The probable pitching matchups were released for the upcoming Texas series, and the Mariners won’t have it easy. Left-handers Derek Holland and Cole Hamels are sandwiched around surprising veteran Colby Lewis, with Seattle offering Hisashi Iwakuma Friday, James Paxton Saturday and Wade Miley Sunday.
The the four-game series closes Thursday at 7:10 p.m. RHP Nathan Karns (5-2, 4.23 ERA) will start against Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin (8-1, 3.54 ERA) in the final meeting between the teams this season.