The Cleveland Guardians managed to double their run total from the series opener, but unfortunately two runs wasn’t enough in a 3-2 extra innings loss to the Seattle Mariners.
This excruciating game came to a merciful end in the eleventh inning, at which point Mitch Haniger hit an RBI single off Emmanuel Clase to plate the winning run for Seattle.
Shane Bieber pitched well enough. His slider was absolutely filthy, finishing the night with a 56% CSW%. It was the defense behind that left much to be desired, specifically Tyler Freeman. Starting at third base to give Jose Ramirez a rest, Freeman had two errors on the night. His first was a throw to first that went wide of Josh Naylor in the first inning. But in the fifth inning, Freeman failed to field a sacrifice bunt by Adam Frazier, which put runners on first and second with no outs.
Steven Kwan did his best to try and help Bieber get out of the inning, diving into the stands as he caught a pop-up from J.P. Crawford in foul territory. Unfortunately, the foulout enabled both runners to advance, and Carlos Santana scored from third on a sac fly the very next at-bat.
The only other run Bieber surrendered in seven innings of work came in the seventh. After allowing back-to-back singles to Eugenio Suarez and Carlos Santana to put runners at the corners with no one out, Adam Frazier hit a sac fly to deep center to tie the game.
It was a frustrating night for Cleveland offensively. Scoring runs was like pulling teeth for this lineup. A pair of sac flies were all they could muster, one courtesy of Steven Kwan in the third inning and the other off the bat of Josh Naylor in the sixth. As a team, the Guardians were 1-for-15 at the plate with a runner in scoring position, leaving 10 men on base.
Amed Rosario doubled with two outs in the third inning, but was left stranded by Jose Ramirez. Rosario stole second with two outs in the sixth inning, but Andres Gimenez grounded out to end the inning. Tyler Freeman hit a ground rule double to left-center with one out in the seventh inning. He could have scored on an Austin Hedges single to center but misread the ball and settled for third. Unfortunately, that is where he stayed thanks to Myles Straw and Kwan.
In the ninth inning of a tie game, Gimenez hit a leadoff double, but Oscar Gonzalez, Tyler Freeman, and pinch hitter Richie Palacios all failed to get him home.
Even with the Rob Manfred runner on second in the tenth inning, Cleveland couldn’t do anything with it. Myles Straw struck out looking, which is as natural to him as breathing at this point. Kwan drew a walk but was then wiped out on a double play ball from Rosario.
That was the tenth inning. In the eleventh, no one who came to the plate for the Guardians could get the ball out of the infield. Naylor and Gimenez both grounded into fielder’s choices, both of which resulted in outs and no run scoring. Gonzalez drew a rare walk, loading the bases with two outs for Freeman, who of course grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
With Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale scheduled to start Saturday and Sunday, the Guardians’ lineup is going to need a spark if they want to avoid a four-game sweep.