Indians 9, Mariners 7
Peralta, hit a three-run double and finished with a career-high four RBIs, and the Indians held off the Seattle Mariners for a 9-7 victory Sunday.
The 23-year-old Peralta, who hit .326 with 15 home runs and 86 RBIs last season for Triple-A Buffalo while Vizquel was still at shortstop, took over this spring when the Indians decided not to re-sign Vizquel.
Peralta is hitting .298 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs this year.
“Jhonny has been a very solid player for us,” Manager Eric Wedge said. “He’s someone who has stepped up in the middle of our lineup and continues to get better defensively and continues to get a better feel for the league. With each day you can see him grow as a major leaguer.”
Casey Blake homered for the Indians, who won three of four from the Mariners.
With the score tied 2-all in the second, the Indians loaded the bases against Joel Pineiro (3-7), who has won just once since April 26—July 7 at the Angels—a span of 16th starts.
Aaron Boone singled, and Ben Broussard and Grady Sizemore walked with one out. Coco Crisp then hit a one-hopper to third baseman Adrian Beltre, who threw home for the force. But Peralta cleared the bases with his double just inside the third-base line for a 5-2 lead.
“When I get into a situation like that, I feel it’s good to hit it hard,” the 23-year-old Peralta said. “It feels great to have four RBIs. It’s the first time for me.”
The Mariners made three trades over the past two days involving nine players, with six players joining the club. Pineiro wouldn’t use the upheaval in the clubhouse as an excuse for his poor performance.
“It was the same story all over again. I’ve got no excuses, nothing,” said Pineiro, who allowed eight hits and seven runs in five innings. “I’m just getting hit around, walking people. That’s why my ERA is so high (6.06) and I’m losing a lot of ballgames.”
The Mariners loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half of the second but scored just once, on Raul Ibanez’s groundout.
Blake hit his 12th homer in the fourth off Pineiro, Ronnie Belliard had a RBI single in the fifth, and Crisp added a sacrifice fly and Peralta a run-scoring groundout in the sixth for a 9-5 lead.
Seattle scored two more in the sixth with two outs to pull to 9-7. Ibanez had an RBI double before Richie Sexson walked to end starter Jake Westbrook’s day. Beltre greeted reliever Rafael Betancourt with a flyball to center field that Sizemore lost in the sun. The ball bounced into the seats for a ground-rule RBI double and forced Sexson back to third. He was left stranded.
“I gave up some runs but not the lead. That’s what you want to do as a pitcher,” said Westbrook (9-12), who allowed seven runs on 11 hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 27th save in 31 chances. He got Ichiro Suzuki to ground out with runners on first and second to end it. It’s the third time in his career that Suzuki had a 0-for-6 game.
In the first, Victor Martinez had an RBI single to right field and Jeff Lieber had a run-scoring single to center to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead.
Seattle responded with two-runs in the bottom half, stringing together four straight hits. Jeremy Reed and Ibanez singled. Sexson singled to center, scoring Reed. Beltre hit a run-scoring double. Westbrook then struck out Morse and got Dave Hansen to line out to second.
Newly acquired catcher Miguel Ojeda was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma after the game. His place on the roster will be taken by catcher Yorvit Torrealba, also acquired over the weekend in a trade with San Francisco; Suzuki hit a pitch from Westbrook that bounced in the dirt in the fourth inning. Westbrook threw a ball that landed four feet in front of the plate and Suzuki lowered his bat and swung weakly at the pitch. It floated to second baseman Ronnie Belliard, who caught it … Martinez had eight hits in 20 at-bats (.400) in the four-game series with three doubles, two home runs and eight RBIs … Left-hander George Sherrill replaced Ron Villone on the roster. Villone was traded to Florida just minutes before the trading deadline. Sherrill worked two scoreless inning.