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SEA@CLE: Mariners score nine runs in the third inning

CLEVELAND -- Luckily for the Mariners and Indians, Cleveland lacks the necessary topography to produce any sandstorms, avalanches or volcanic eruptions.

The workings of nature have seemingly beleaguered the American League squads each time the clubs have locked horns in Cleveland.

Snow squalls squashed the teams' season-opening four-game series in 2007. Rain washed out a pair of contests this May. An earthquake shook the press box and upper levels of the stadium during an Aug. 23 contest.

Fittingly, rain shortened Monday's meeting, which was a makeup of one of May's postponements. Amid persistent precipitation, Seattle rained on the Indians' parade, as the Mariners opened the final road trip of their season with a 12-6 victory.

"We've had some tough luck, weather-wise here," said Mariners skipper Eric Wedge, who managed the Indians from 2003-09. "I'm very familiar with how the weather works around here. The field wasn't even really playable there at the end."

The often anemic Mariners offense -- Seattle entered the game last in the AL with 3.4 runs per game -- chased Tribe starter David Huff early. After the Indians struck first with back-to-back home runs by shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera and catcher Carlos Santana in the first inning, Seattle stormed back with two runs in the second and nine more in the third, providing ample support for southpaw Charlie Furbush.

"It's definitely a change of pace when you get nine runs and get momentum going your way," Furbush said. "You try to put up a zero after putting up a nine-spot."

Rookie third baseman Alex Liddi connected for his first big league home run in the second. The first player born and raised in Italy to play in the Major Leagues, Liddi, 23, slugged a Huff breaking ball just above the 19-feet-high wall in left field for a two-run blast.

"I hit it pretty good," Liddi said, "but you never know. I just ran hard and hoped it would hit the wall or go out."

First baseman Mike Carp capped Seattle's nine-run third with a towering, 455-foot grand slam into the right-field seats.

"Wow. I didn't see the replay of it, but he hit that on a line and hit it a long way," Wedge said. "That gives an indicator of what kind of power that young man has."

The Mariners sent 12 men to the plate in the frame. Six reached via hit, two by walk and one on an inning-opening error. Huff departed after just 2 2/3 innings, having surrendered nine runs (five earned) on seven hits and three walks.

Furbush fared a bit better. The rookie hurler yielded six runs on 10 hits, but struck out a career-high eight in five innings to snap a five-start losing streak.

"When he went back out there after we scored those runs, he was going to have to control the ballgame for us," Wedge said. "If he showed me he could turn the corner, then we were going to try to get him through five, and that's what he did."

The Indians closed to within 11-6 after a two-run single from designated hitter Travis Hafner in the fifth. Seattle countered with a run in the sixth on an RBI single from its own DH, Wily Mo Pena, who reached base four times, three via walks.

The grounds crew rolled the tarp onto the infield following the seventh inning. After a 44-minute delay, the teams packed up and headed home.

The Mariners' offense -- shorthanded after Brendan Ryan and Casper Wells remained in Seattle to receive MRIs on their respective ailments -- continued its mastery of Tribe pitching. In a four-game series at Progressive Field in late August, the Mariners piled up 29 runs on 51 hits, taking three of four from then-contending Cleveland.

Seattle's trip to Cleveland was just a quick pit stop as the team embarks on its final road swing of the season. Monday's contest was a makeup of a May 15 rainout. The Mariners begin a three-game set against the Twins on Tuesday before closing the road trip with three tilts against the Rangers.

Wedge noted the rarity of a one-game trip.

"It's different," Wedge said. "It's very unusual. Everybody has to do it from time to time, I guess."

Of course, it wouldn't be a voyage to Cleveland without interference from Mother Nature.

"I don't miss the weather here, that's for sure," Wedge said. "I've been on both sides of that one."

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