Using home runs from Brendan Ryan, Raul Ibanez and Justin Smoak, the Mariners fought back from a 4-0 deficit Saturday at Progressive Field only to have reliever Oliver Perez become the latest mistake by the lake. After Seattle tied the game in the ninth on back-to-back homers by Ibanez and Smoak, Perez quickly allowed Cleveland to load the bases and score a 5-4 walk-off win.
It was the second walk-off victory by the Indians in as many days and this one featured Mark Reynolds, who delivered the game-winning hit.
The ninth opened with a single to center by Jason Kipnis, who hit the walk-off homer against Lucas Luetge Friday night. Former Mariner Asdrubal Cabrera, who had three hits, banged a Perez fastball off the wall in left, giving the Indians runners at second and third.
Perez intentionally walked Nick Swisher to load the bases, at which point Seattle manager Eric Wedge called in righthander Yoervis Medina to face Reynolds, who laced a ball into the hole at short that Ryan handled cleanly. But his throw home pulled Jesus Montero off the plate, foiling the force play and allowing Kipnis to score the winning run.
In addition to his single, Reynolds delivered a run-scoring single in the first inning and a solo homer, his 12th, in the fifth.
For much of the game, it appeared Seattle would never get anything going offensively, and that starter Joe Saunders would be saddled with his fifth consecutive road loss. The Indians had baserunners every inning and built a 4-0 lead through five innings while holding Seattle to just three hits.
But then Ryan unexpectedly ripped a two-run homer in the eighth and Ibanez and Smoak went back-to-back in the ninth.
The Mariners (20-23) have now lost two in a row to the Indians after scoring back-to-back wins over New York at Yankee Stadium. They are 2-3 on the nine-day, nine-game road trip that continues Sunday and ends with a pair of contests against the L.A. Angels in Anaheim next week.
Saunders worked 6.1 innings and allowed four earned runs on 11 hits, his road ERA actually dropping from 12.54 to 11.25.
Saunders disposed of the Indians in the first, but Cleveland pecked away in the second when, with two outs, Saunders yielded two singles and a walk, the second hit, by Reynolds, driving in Cabrera.
In the fifth, Reynolds’s homer scored Cabrera, who singled. The Indians added another run on Michael Bourn’s fielder’s choice and a Kipnis RBI single for a 4-0 lead.
After Smoak doubled to left to open the eighth, light-hitting Ryan homered on a 1-2 count off starter Zach McAllister, trimming Cleveland’s lead to 4-2. It was Ryan’s first home run of the season and only his second extra-base hit. It was enough to chase McAllister, who allowed two earned runs on six hits over 7.1 innings.
The home runs by Ibanez and Smoak saved Saunders from another road defeat. Ibanez’s homer was his eighth of the year and sixth in seven games. Ibanez has 14 RBIs during that span. Smoak followed with his first home run since April 24, tying the game at 4. The Ibanez-Smoak homers were the first back-to-back shots by a Seattle duo since Ibanez and Michael Morse did it April 9 vs. Houston.
The Mariners send Felix Hernandez to the mound at 10 a.m. Sunday morning. Seeking his sixth win, Hernandez (5-2, 1.53) will oppose Justin Masterson (6-2, 3.14).
NOTES: Mariners are 5-0-1 in last six series after going 0-5-2 in their first seven . . . The Mariners are amid three consecutive day games. They last played three in daylight Sept. 1-3 against the L.A. Angels . . . Manager Eric Wedge gave OF Michael Saunders the day off Saturday. Saunders was 4-for-19 in his last four games . . . The Mariners say they will probably use Franklin Gutierrez in right field when he returns from his Tacoma rehab assignment . . . Closer Tom Wilhelmsen has been perfect against righthanders this season, retiring all 34.