December 20, 2014

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Borowski blows another save, costs Indians sweep

SEATTLE — The Cleveland Indians finally finished off their prolonged, snowed-out series from April that took nearly six months to complete.
Then the Indians watched a major postseason concern flare up yet again — closer Joe Borowski — and for the second straight night.
Pinch-hitter Jeff Clement hit his first career homer with two outs in the ninth off Borowski to tie the game at 2, and Mike Morse singled home pinch-runner Rob Johnson with two outs in the 10th as the Mariners rallied for a 3-2 victory in the second game of an unusual doubleheader.
“He threw me a 1-0 fastball that was right there. That’s what you’re supposed to do with them,” said Clement, Seattle’s first-round pick in the 2005 draft.
Borowski failed to finish on Tuesday night, giving up a two-run homer to Adrian Beltre in the ninth, before the Indians won in the 12th. Wednesday’s blown save was Borowski’s eighth of the season.
“If you play this game long enough they say you’re going to experience everything,” Borowski said. “First-time in my career. Get it out of the way now.”
The split dropped the Indians (94-64) into a tie with Boston for the best record in the AL, and the loss kept Cleveland, at least for a day, from clinching home field for the first round of the playoffs, where they’ll likely face the New York Yankees.
In the opener, Fausto Carmona won his 19th game as the Indians routed Seattle, 12-4, and in the process pounded starter Ryan Feierabend, a Midview High grad making his first start against his hometown team. Feierabend last just 22/3 innings, allowing six runs, all earned, on eight hits, while walking two and striking out none.
The game was the conclusion of the four-game series that was snowed-out in April in Cleveland. The Indians were the home team for the opener of just the second doubleheader in Safeco Field history.
“It’s been an interesting series to say the least,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “It’s just part of a big league season.”
J.J. Putz (5-1) got the win for Seattle in the nightcap, striking out the side in the 10th, then delivering a shaving-cream pie to Clement in the clubhouse. Aaron Fultz (4-3) was the loser.
With one-out in the 10th, Ben Broussard walked on a close 3-2 pitch from Fultz. Jose Guillen then popped up off the end of the bat. Left fielder Jason Michaels was playing deep, got a late jump and couldn’t make a diving grab. Johnson ran for Broussard and advanced to third on Beltre’s flyout, and Morse hit a one-hop smash that shortstop Jhonny Peralta couldn’t handle and bounced into left field.
“There’s no excuses, those are plays that need to be made and they need to understand that,” Wedge said of the 10th.
After battering Mariners’ pitching for 17 hits in the opener, the Indians managed just two hits in six innings off Jarrod Washburn in the nightcap — solo homers by Ryan Garko and Kelly Shoppach. Cleveland starter Jeremy Sowers bettered Washburn, shutting out Seattle for five innings, giving up just five hits and striking out five.
Jensen Lewis kept Seattle scoreless in the sixth and seventh, but Seattle got one in the eighth off Rafael Betancourt on singles by Ichiro Suzuki and Broussard, and a sacrifice fly by Guillen. But Betancourt struck out Beltre and Morse to end the inning.
Borowski looked fine starting the ninth with a strikeout and pop out. Clement, pinch-hitting for Jamie Burke, homered on the second pitch to right-center field.
“The only thing I know about Joe Borowski is how tough he is,” Wedge said. “I know he’s not a happy camper right now, nobody is, but I know he’s going to be there for us again tomorrow.”
It was Seattle’s first win this season when trailing after eight innings.
In the opener, Luis Rivas homered and tripled in the third inning as the Indians sent 13 batters to the plate.
Carmona didn’t need that much offensive help and looked postseason ready. The righty likely wrapped up the AL ERA title at 3.06 despite giving up a first-inning, two-run homer to Guillen — the first homer Carmona allowed since Aug. 21.
Other than Guillen’s 22nd homer, Carmona was strong, improving to 19-8 in his last start before the playoffs. He pitched seven innings, giving up three runs and seven hits with four strikeouts. He retired 15 straight batters before Wladimir Balentien’s first career homer in the seventh.
“We feel ready to start the playoffs,” Carmona said.
Rivas started the Indians big inning lining his first homer in more than two years off the left-field foul pole, in just his second at-bat since being brought up on Sept. 1. It only got worse for Feierabend (1-6, 8.03 ERA), who gave up five hits to the next seven batters, including an RBI double to Garko and RBI single by Jason Michaels. Casey Blake finally ended Feierabend’s afternoon with a bloop double just inside the right-field line.
“Ryan has had problems early lately getting his changeup down. That’s his bread-and-butter,” Seattle manager John McLaren said. “When you make mistakes with your bread-and-butter you have problems.”
Despite being the home team, all Indians’ stats were credited as “road” stats. According to the Mariners, it was the first time since 1913 that a home team batted first in its own ballpark.

Notable

Seattle SS Yuniesky Betancourt had an MRI exam on his sore right elbow on Wednesday, and showed a grade 1 sprain of the flexor bundle, but no major damage. “That’s good news,” McLaren said.
Cleveland won three of four of the makeup games in the snowed-out series.
Seattle RHP Jorge Campillo left in the sixth inning of the opener after taking a line drive from Casey Blake off his right arm, near the wrist. X-rays were negative.

TONIGHT

WHO: Cleveland at Seattle
TIME: 10:05
WHERE: Safeco Field, Seattle
PITCHERS: Byrd (15-7, 4.55 ERA) vs. Baek (3-3, 5.48)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM