On Thursday night, the Seattle Mariners went for their second straight series win at Safeco Field, hoping to take the rubber match against the Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately, even though they saw a spectacular finish from their ace, a blown save ended to a 2-1 defeat and a series loss.
The Mariners opened the scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning. Michael Saunders led off with a double and was bunted to third base. He came in to score on a John Jaso fielder's choice.
M's ace Felix Hernandez was once again on top of his game. He ran into trouble in the eighth inning, but the jam only highlighted King Felix's unflappability. After striking out Shelley Duncan to start the inning, Hernandez gave up three straight singles to load the bases, the last of which was a potential double-play grounder that glanced off the glove of a diving Dustin Ackley. Hernandez struck out Jason Kipnis swinging and struck out Shin-Soo Choo on a check swing to get out of the inning in spectacular fashion.
When all was said and done, Hernandez went eight innings, giving up five hits and one walk while striking out 12.
Brandon League came in for the ninth inning and issued a leadoff walk, followed by a Travis Hafner single to put two men on with no outs. The runners were bunted over and League fell behind 3-1 to Duncan, then walked the bases loaded on a pitch very far inside. On the first pitch to Jack Hannahan, League got the double-play grounder that he was looking for -- but one that went past the glove of a diving Kyle Seager at third base and into left field, scoring two runs and giving the Indians a 2-1 lead. League struck out Jason Donald and was lifted for Lucas Luetge, who walked Michael Brantley on four pitches to load the bases once again. Luetge got a groundout from Kipnis to end the inning, but the damage had been done.
The Mariners were unable to score any runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, getting sent down in order and suffering the heartbreaker loss and squandering a phenomenal effort by Hernandez.
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