Mariners get past Cleveland on Chavez’s homer
Endy Chavez hits first home run since last May 30 as Seattle edges Indians 3-2.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Cleveland @ M’s,
7:10 p.m., ROOT
The 28,084 at Safeco Field on Friday night saw the twin oddities of a 7-6-3 double play and an Endy Chavez home run.
They also saw something that for a time this year might have seemed unusual but is now beginning to become the norm — another Mariner win.
Chavez hit his first home run since May 30, 2013, a span of 265 plate appearances, as the Mariners held on to beat the Cleveland Indians 3-2 at Safeco Field.
Manager Lloyd McClendon, though, laughed later that maybe he saw a rare Chavez power outburst coming.
“Of course I expect pop from my DH (designated hitter),’’ said McClendon of Chavez, who held that role for the third time this season.
The rest of the game, though, evolved the way so many others have this year as Seattle got solid pitching throughout and offense when it was most needed in improving to 43-37, again a season-high-tying six games over .500. The win was Seattle’s ninth in its last 12 games, and third of four on this homestand.
Chris Young started, and while he wasn’t as sharp as he often has been, he allowed just one run in five innings before leaving, having thrown 91 pitches, McClendon explaining he didn’t want to see Young throw more than 100.
Young also admitted he was living right at times Friday night as the Indians hit a number of balls hard in his five innings, including three doubles.
“I wasn’t as sharp as I could be and I probably got a little bit lucky tonight,’’ said Young, who entered the game allowing opponents to hit just .173 in seven outings at Safeco Field — only three pitchers in the majors were allowing a lower average at home.
McClendon gave Young (7-4) more credit, saying, “His stuff was as good as it’s been all year. They just got his pitch count up.’’
Closer Fernando Rodney bent but didn’t break in the ninth, allowing a run on two hits but ultimately getting his 22nd save in 24 chances.
“Twelve big outs,’’ Young said.
Not all came easily. Seattle caught something of a break in the seventh when with two outs, Logan Morrison bobbled a grounder from Michael Bourn with Nick Swisher on first base. Morrison fortuitously kicked the ball into the infield, which allowed him to gather it up quickly and throw out Swisher at third for the final out.
“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,’’ said McClendon of Morrison’s play. “He was very fortunate.’’
It was also Morrison who was doubled up in the fourth inning after Mike Zunino’s fly at the wall was caught by Michael Brantley. Morrison, who had singled and was already to second when the ball was caught, couldn’t get back in time to beat a throw from shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera.
“That’s a game-changer right there,’’ said Cleveland manager Terry Francona.
Well, almost. Seattle got a run later in the inning to take the lead for good, then added to it when Chavez homered with one out in the seventh on the 111th and final pitch from Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer.
“I was just trying to be aggressive, put an aggressive swing on it,’’ said Chavez, who is 8 of 16 on the homestand and hitting .356 in his last 11 games. “I was looking for something in, then he threw the slider in, and I was able to get a good swing.
“I hit a line drive, and from the beginning I was running hard trying to get to second. Then I saw the ball go into the stands, and I said, ‘OK, I’ll take it.’ ”