Seattle, WA – Carlos Santana belted a three-run home run during the Indians seven-run fifth inning and Cleveland defeated Seattle, 9-8, in the opener of a three-game series at Safeco Field on Tuesday.
It was 8-8 in the seventh when Travis Hafner stroked a leadoff single and Shelley Duncan followed with a walk off of Charlie Furbush (0-1). After consecutive strike outs and a pitching change, Jason Donald ripped a single to right field as Hafner crossed the plate for the go-ahead run.
The Cleveland bullpen kept the Indians in the game, allowing just three hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings of relief work, despite a shaky bottom of the ninth from Chris Perez, who loaded the bases before nailing down his third save of the year.
Shin-Soo Choo and Donald tallied two hits and knocked in two runs apiece and Rafael Perez (1-0) pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth to earn the win for the Indians, who continued their winning ways after sweeping the Royals over the weekend.
Neither pitcher tossed more than four innings as Cleveland's Justin Masterson was shelled for eight runs on seven hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings and Seattle starter Kevin Millwood surrendered seven runs -- six earned -- on nine hits over four innings.
"I thought it was a great comeback, obviously. Masterson struggled with his command and put us in a deep hole, but it's a team effort," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. "These guys came out swinging and just never gave up."
Justin Smoak had a career-high four hits while John Jaso smacked a two-run shot and knocked in three runs overall. Ichiro Suzuki also knocked in two for Seattle, which had taken two of three from Oakland coming into the game.
"He's one of the best I've seen in regard to controlling damage, but today he just wasn't able to get through it," Seattle manager Eric Wedge remarked about Millwood. "I thought he was throwing the ball the three previous innings, but he was just up a bit, missing some spots that last inning and just wasn't able to get it done."
Michael Brantley started the game with a single and came around to score on Hafner's single to left, giving the Indians an early 1-0 lead.
Jaso gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead in the third when he lifted a 2-2 sinker into the seats in right.
Seattle struck for six in the fourth, using three singles to load the bases before Brendan Ryan walked to force in a run. After a brief talk at the mound, Masterson drilled Jaso with a slider to score Kyle Seager.
A Chone Figgins' sacrifice fly scored Michael Saunders before Dustin Ackley walked and Suzuki plated two with a single to right field.
Smoak then capped the offensive explosion, ripping a single to right that scored Ackley and gave the Mariners an 8-1 lead.
But Cleveland had an answer in the form of a seven-run top of the fifth.
Jack Hannahan sparked the rally with a leadoff double and Donald followed with a single. Brantley then reached on an error to score Hannahan before Jason Kipnis ripped a single to load the bases.
A brief talk at the mound did nothing to stop the hit parade as Choo plated two with a single to center before Santana cleared the bases with a three-run blast to right field.
After a pitching change, the Indians loaded the bases again, but managed just one more run on a sac fly from Donald to tie the game at 8-8.
The Indians have now homered in each of their first nine games this season, the club's longest streak to start the year since 2006...The Indians announced Tuesday that the club has placed infielder Asdrubal Cabrera on the bereavement list as he deals with the death of one of his grandfathers...Cleveland also signed veteran outfielder Johnny Damon to a minor league contract on Tuesday...Since July 19, 2008 the Indians are 11-2 in Safeco Field.