mariners 8, indians 7
Indians fight back from 7-0 deficit, still fall
CLEVELAND — In an ironic scene early Monday night at Jacobs Field, a flock of birds flew around the outfield while Indians pitcher Paul Byrd was on the mound.
Unfortunately for Byrd and the Indians, so did baseballs.
With Byrd offering up his most disappointing effort of the season, Cleveland dropped an 8-7 decision to the Seattle Mariners, who were in town to make up the second of four snowed-out games from the Indians’ home-opening series (April 6-9).
Down 7-0, the Indians rallied to tie the game in the eighth inning but were never able to get over the hump Byrd placed in front of them, losing on Raul Ibanez’s RBI double off closer Joe Borowski in the ninth.
“This is 100 percent on me,” said Byrd, who failed to last at least six innings for the first time in 11 starts this season, allowing seven runs on a career-high 11 hits through just four innings. “It was amazing that we came back. We showed a lot of character. My control just did not show up tonight.”
It was an opportunity for revenge for Byrd, who was the pitcher of record in the snowed-out home opener.
The Indians led 4-0 in that game and were a strike away from getting the official win when Seattle manager Mike Hargrove argued for a delay that was granted and ultimately led to a postponement.
Byrd had spicy words for Hargrove and the Mariners’ tactics after the postponed game, but the right-hander fell well short of backing them up in his first opportunity to face them since, allowing three home runs and the game to get away from him early.
“I was really looking forward to facing these guys,” Byrd said. “I don’t know if I put too much emphasis on the Mariners being back in town and I wanted to stick it to them.
“I got a lot of balls up and they did what great hitters do when you leave the ball over the plate. They just crushed it.”
Seattle scored once in the first and led 5-0 after adding four runs in the third on a pair of two-run homers from Ibanez and Jose Lopez. Ibanez’s second homer of the night, another two-run shot, put the Mariners in front 7-0 in the fourth. Ibanez entered the game with just two homers in 54 games.
“I have no idea how he only had two home runs,” Byrd said. “The way he played tonight, he should have 20. He killed us tonight.”
Ibanez burned the Indians nearly every time he stepped to the plate, going 4-for-5 with the two homers, the game-winning double and a triple. He was a likely assassin, batting .298 with 13 homers and 62 RBIs in 292 career at-bats against Cleveland.
The Indians’ offense, which was anemic at best during a three-game series in Cincinnati, was still in low gear through the first four innings against Mariners starter Cha Seung Baek.
Baek shut out Cleveland on just two first-inning hits over the span before the Indians broke through for three runs in the fifth — two on a single from Travis Hafner.
The Indians scored two more runs in the sixth, the last on a hit from Casey Blake, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high 20 games with a single in the first. Blake’s double down the third-base line tied it in the eighth inning, with the Indians putting runners on first and second in the bottom of the ninth before David Dellucci grounded to second to end the game.
“I thought our guys showed great fight,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “They never quit. They kept working. It’s not easy to do down 7-0 after four innings.
“We just came up a little bit short.”
Jose Vidro started the ninth with a single off Borowski, who retired Jose Guillen on a fly ball to the warning track in center before Ibanez’s double to the gap in right-center scored the go-ahead run.
Borowski pitching in non-save situations has been a disaster for the Indians with the right-hander allowing 11 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings for a 17.47 ERA. His season ERA ballooned to 6.75 in 26 appearances.
Though it was just one game, it counts as a series, with the Indians suffering their first loss in 11 series at home (9-1-1).
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7137 or email@example.com.
WHO: Cleveland at Florida
WHERE: Dolphin Stadium, Miami
PITCHERS: Carmona (7-1, 3.11 ERA) vs. Olsen (4-5, 5.27)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WMMS 100.7-FM