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First-inning rally sets tone as Indians top Mariners 4-3

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A winning record in April!

Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Indians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

There was a lot of excitement in the first inning of today’s game. When all was said and done, the first inning featured seven runs, six hits (two of which left the yard), and three walks (all of which came around to score). The rest of the game happened, but it was fairly uneventful, especially when you compare it to the first frame.

Danny Salazar started off the game looking really good for the first... two batters he faced. After flashing his upper-90s fastball and his devastating slider, Robinson Cano stepped up to the plate and roped a double down the left field line that Michael Brantley had to play off the wall. The very next pitch to Nelson Cruz, who did not play yesterday, was quickly deposited over the fence and into the bushes in dead center. The very next pitch to Kyle Seager was quickly deposited over the fence and into the bullpen in right field. Salazar then buckled down and struck out Danny Valencia on three pitches to end the inning. Little did we know that Danny would last another 5.1 innings and give up no more runs, but we’ll come back to that in a moment.

The bottom half of the first inning featured the Cleveland Indians sending all nine men to the plate before the inning ended. Mariners’ starter Yovani Gallardo could not find the strike zone and ended up walking the bases loaded with one out before Jose Ramirez stepped to the plate. Ramirez, who is tied for third in the American League in runs batted in, took a pitch in the lower part of the strike zone and sent a broken bat liner into right field to score Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor, bringing the Tribe to within one. After a Jason Kipnis strikeout, Lonnie Chisenhall sent a seeing eye single up the middle of the infield and into center field to bring home Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Ramirez. The inning ended on a Yan Gomes flyout to center field, but by the time the Mariners came to bat in the second inning, the score was 4-3, where it would remain until the end of the game.

Now, back to Danny Salazar. Salazar made a few mistakes to a some good hitters in the first inning, but he ultimately had a good outing. His final line ended at 6.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, and 6 K. After that first inning, Salazar didn’t allow a hit for the remaining five+ innings that he pitched. Even in the seventh inning when he was up over 100 pitches, he was still hitting 97mph on the radar gun. He scattered the three walks over the remaining innings and the Mariners never really threatened for the rest of the game.

The two headed monster of Andrew Miller & Cody Allen made another appearance today, and they looked as lethal as ever. There were a couple of questionable calls when Andrew Miller was pitching (namely, his ball four pitch to Carlos Ruiz had “been a strike for a hundred years”, according to Rick Manning), but he still managed to strikeout four of the six hitters he faced and did not allow a hit. Cody Allen, as much as he likes to send fans into cardiac arrest, had a rather pedestrian 1-2-3 inning where he struck out two batters as well.

Tribe Tidbits

  • Jason Kipnis looks a bit lost at the plate right now. The All-Star second baseman went 0-for-4 today with two strikeouts, including a strikeout in the first inning where Gallardo (who had already walked three batters in the inning) struck him out on three pitches. Keep in mind that Kipnis really didn’t have any sort of spring training, so he’s still getting himself going. I’m not worried about Kip, but I’m anxious for the days when he starts hitting consistently again.
  • Carlos Santana hit a ball that looked destined for Lake Erie only to have it die in center field on the warning track. Supposedly, following this out, Encarnacion approached half a dozen of his teammates to ask if this weather is always a thing. Welcome to Cleveland, Edwin!
  • Boog Powell was set to make his MLB debut today in the seventh inning as a pinch hitter for Mike Zunino, but Seattle manager Scott Servais had other plans when he realized that Tito was removing Danny Salazar and calling Andrew Miller from the bullpen:

With today’s win, the Cleveland Indians sit at an overall record of 13-10. A loss tomorrow would mean that they end the month of April 2 games above .500, a feat they have not accomplished since 2012 when they were 11-9. Should Josh Tomlin avoid disaster and give the Tribe another win, they will be 4 games over .500, something that the team has not done since 2011 when they were 10 games above .500 at 18-8.