The Indians took two of three from the Rangers in Texas over the weekend, though they did surrender Rafael Palmeiro’s 500th home run in a 17-10 loss on Sunday. That series ended a stretch of 16 road games in the last 22 for the Indians, who are now home for 10 straight.
The 17 runs the Indians surrendered on Sunday marked the latest disappointment for the struggling Cleveland pitching staff. Indians hurlers have allowed more than five runs per game this season, including 45 on their just completed six-game road trip.
Indians pitcher Dave Elder gave up the most glaring hit on the trip, when he served up Palmeiro’s historic homer.
“I tried to get a fastball in and just didn’t get it there,” said Elder, the 328th pitcher Palmeiro has homered against. “He has 500 reasons why pitchers shouldn’t make mistakes. That’s not what I wanted to happen.”
Cleveland’s pitching staff faces another tough test against the Mariners, who boast the fifth-best offense in the AL. Seattle comes in with wins in six of its last nine, including two of three against the Chicago White Sox over the weekend.
The key to Seattle’s offense continues to be Edgar Martinez, who has a team-leading .343 batting average. The veteran designated hitter is 6-for-15 with three homers and five RBIs over the last four games.
“Obviously, you’re never satisfied, but right now I’m more happy that I feel good and I’m healthy,” said Martinez, who missed a week early in April because of a strained left hamstring. “I’m looking ahead for a good season.”
STANDINGS: Mariners - 1st place (tied), AL West. Indians - 4th place, 11 1/2 GB, AL Central.
MARINERS PROBABLE STARTER: Joel Pineiro (2-3, 4.06 ERA). Pineiro was the losing pitcher in the Mariners’ 7-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Wednesday, allowing four runs in six innings. The right-hander also gave up six hits and three walks, while striking out four. Pineiro has never earned a decision against the Indians, but has allowed 10 runs in 11 2-3 career innings.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Brian Anderson (2-3, 4.54 ERA). Anderson escaped without a decision in the Indians’ 6-5 loss to Anaheim on Wednesday. The veteran left-hander allowed three runs and seven hits in six innings with one walk and one strikeout. Anderson is 1-4 with a 4.73 ERA lifetime against Seattle.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Mariners - Martinez, .343 avg.; Martinez and Bret Boone, 7 HRs; Mike Cameron, 26 RBIs; Boone, 27 runs; Ichiro Suzuki, 6 SBs. Indians - Milton Bradley, .340 avg.; Matt Lawton, 6 HRs; Ellis Burks, 20 RBIs; Omar Vizquel, 19 runs; Bradley, Vizquel, Brandon Phillips and Lawton, 2 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Mariners, 3-0.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Mariners - LHP Jamie Moyer is 103-50 since coming over in a trade from Boston in July 1996. He’s second all-time in victories for the Mariners behind Randy Johnson’s 130 wins. … Sunday’s crowd of 45,383 was just the third sellout in 22 games at Safeco Field this season. … The Mariners are 10-0 in day games, as opposed to 13-14 at night. Indians - 2B Phillips had four doubles during the three-game series at Texas. … Rookie 1B Travis Hafner was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game because of a broken left big toe. Casey Blake got the start at first. Hafner took batting practice and was available to pinch hit, but he’s unsure when he’ll be able to play his position again. … OF Lawton is 4-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs lifetime against RHP Pineiro.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Mariners - 9-6 on the road; Indians - 5-10 at home.
INJURIES: Mariners - OF Chris Snelling (knee), 15-day DL. Indians - OF Karim Garcia (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 15-day DL; LHP Cliff Lee (abdomen), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbows), 60-day DL; INF Ricky Gutierrez (neck), 60-day DL; 1B Hafner (toe), day-to-day.