Seattle, WA – Michael Saunders hit a pair of two-run home runs on Monday, including the go-ahead blast in the seventh inning, and the Seattle Mariners topped the Cleveland Indians, 5-3, in the opener of a three- game series at Safeco Field.
Eric Thames clubbed a solo shot and added a triple for the streaking Mariners, who have won six in a row. Charlie Furbush (5-2) picked up the win with two innings of scoreless relief and Tom Wilhelmsen worked out of trouble in the ninth to come away with the 18th save of the season.
"We're obviously playing good baseball right now," Saunders said. "One through nine, our five starting pitchers and our bullpen are coming in a doing a great job, so, from a team standpoint, we're playing great and we're having a lot of fun doing it. "We're coming to the ballpark expecting to win, we have a great attitude right now, even the games we have lost, we wake up, we know it's a new day and our attitudes haven't changed."
Jason Kipnis crushed a solo home run and finished with a pair of RBI, and Asdrubal Cabrera added a run-scoring single for the Indians, who lost for the sixth consecutive time.
Joe Smith (7-4) was tagged with the loss after allowing a run and a walk in one-third of an inning.
Brendan Ryan worked a leadoff walk in the seventh inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Dustin Ackley. Saunders then got a fastball from Tony Sipp and smashed it over the wall in center field for his 13th homer of the season.
The ninth inning started well for Wilhelmsen as he got Shelley Duncan to fly out, but he got into trouble by allowing a single to Casey Kotchman and a double off the wall in right to Ezequiel Carrera. Things got worse for the M's closer as he walked pinch-hitter Jack Hannahan to load the bases.
Wilhelmsen then induced Kipnis into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Kipnis led off the game with a towering shot to right field to give the Indians an early lead, but the M's got it back in the third when Saunders launched a two-run long ball over the wall in center field.
Cleveland put two runs on the board in the fifth to take the lead. Kotchman drew a one-out walk and Carrera beat out a bunt. Kipnis then brought home Kotchman with a single two batters later and Carrera scored via a Cabrera base hit to put the Tribe ahead, 3-2.
Thames crushed a homer to center field off Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez in the sixth inning.
"Another tough ball game but I thought Ubaldo did a very nice job," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Unfortunately, he gave up that home run to Thames which allowed them to tie the ball game but he was very aggressive early in the game with his fastball."
Seattle improved to 2-4 against Cleveland this season ... Mariners left fielder Trayvon Robinson recorded 10 put-outs and established a new club record for a left fielder. The overall team record for outfield put-outs in one game belongs to Ken Griffey Jr., who made 11 in 1996 ...It was Saunders' third career multi-home run game and second this season ... Jimenez allowed three runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings ... Seattle starter Kevin Millwood gave up three runs on five hits over six full frames.