SEATTLE – If the slumping Cleveland Indians are looking for something that will spark some optimism and hope, they are unlikely to find it on the mound Tuesday night.
The Tribe — losers of six straight and 18 of their last 22 after falling 5-3 to the Seattle Mariners on Monday night — will be facing right-hander Feliz Hernandez, who threw a perfect game his last time out.
"When things are going bad, they're going bad," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That's the way things are going right now and we're just going to have to show up again tomorrow and continue to battle.
"It's not easy. No one likes to lose. Even though (starter) Ubaldo (Jimenez) did great, it's a team effort. We win as a team and lose as a team."
It was almost a one-man effort for the Mariners, who got a pair of two-run homers from Michael Saunders.
Saunders also hit a two-run homer on Sunday and now has a career high 13. He has eight hits in his last 16 at-bats, including three home runs, after going 1 for 35 over his previous eight games.
Eric Thames also had a solo shot for the Mariners in the sixth as well as a triple in the eighth.
The Mariners have won 13 of their last 14 games at Safeco Field. It's the best home stretch over 14 games in club history. They are 23-13 since the All-Star Break.
The Indians are 10-27 since the All-Star break, the worst record in the league.
"We have to play better in all aspects of the game," said Jason Kipnis, who had a pair of RBIs. "We've got to play better baseball, offense, defense, pitching.
"It's not a lack of effort or concentration. The team is out there fighting and trying. Things are just not falling in the right place now."
Kipnis had started the game for the Indians with a shot off the right field foul pole. It was his 12th home run and first career leadoff homer.
Saunders then put the Mariners ahead 2-1 in the third, hitting a 3-1 fastball from Jimenez to deep center.
"I was looking for the heater at that point," Saunders said. "He threw one middle away. When I was going bad, I was rolling over on that pitch. I needed to correct that."
The Indians jumped back ahead with a two-run fifth. Casey Kotchman walked with one out then Ezequiel Carrera beat out a right-side bunt. With one out, Kipnis singled to left, scoring Kotchman from second. Asdrubal Cabrera then singled to center, scoring Carrera from second for a 3-2 lead.
Thames tied it in the sixth with his two-out, 425-foot blast into the right-center seats. It was his fifth.
Then Saunders faced another inside battle with reliever Tony Sipp in the seventh. With a runner on first, Saunders found himself in a 2-2 count.
"I haven't had too much success in my career against Sipp," Saunders said. "Typically, he's gotten me out with those sliders."
Saunders had been 0 for 5 in his career against Sipp with three strikeouts.
"He ended up hanging one (slider) tonight," Saunders said. "I tried not to do too much, just put a good swing on it."
That one traveled deep into the right-center seats for his third career two-homer game.
"Even the two home runs were good pitches," said Jimenez, who gave up six hits and three runs in 5 2-3 innings. "They just hit them. The first one I fell behind the count and he put a good swing on the ball. The second one it wasn't a bad pitch. It was a back-door slider, probably too much of the plate, but it was a good pitch."
Charlie Furbush (5-2) earned the victory in relief of starter Kevin Millwood.
Tom Wilhelmsen worked the ninth and had trouble closing. Kotchman singled with one out and Carrera doubled to right, with Kotchman taking third.
Wilhelmsen threw a wild pitch but the ball bounced hard off the backstop and both runners held.
"The guy throws a wild pitch to put the potential tying run at third base with less than two outs and the ball bounces right back to the catcher," Acta said. "And our guys couldn't move. That's the way things are going right now."
Pinch hitter Jack Hannahan drew a walk to load the bases, which didn't really bother Wilhelmsen. It set up the double play.
"That's the idea," Wilhelmsen said.
He added that he left a pitch up Kipnis.
"I was lucky he got on top of it," he said. "And we got the double play."
Kipnis bounced the ball to second and it was turned quickly into a game-ending double play. Wilhelmsen picked up his 18th save in 20 opportunities.
Joe Smith (7-4) took the loss.
NOTES: Hernandez, who threw the 23rd perfect game in Major League history last Wednesday, was named the American League Player of the Week. He is the first Mariners pitcher to win the award since Joel Pineiro on May 7, 2006. Hernandez starts Tuesday night against Cleveland. ... Mariners Trayvon Robinson had 10 outfield putouts, most in club history for a left-fielder. ... The Indians staff has given up 59 unearned runs this season, second most in the majors. Of those, 21 have come over the past 14 games.