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08/31/08 5:59 PM ET
Big inning Tribe's downfall against M's
Indians unable to avoid sweep after Seattle's five-run fifth
By Steve Herrick / Special to MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Call it a lost weekend for the Indians. Riding a 10-game winning streak into this homestand, Cleveland saw Seattle finish off a three-game sweep with a 6-4 win Sunday. This isn't exactly what anyone had in mind when the Indians returned from a road trip that saw them sweep three-game series in both Texas and Detroit. Instead, the Mariners, with the fewest wins in the American League, left town with a sweep of their own, winning by one run each Friday and Saturday and two Sunday. "That's three tough ballgames we were on the south side of," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. For Wedge, the weekend came down to one thing: missed opportunities. "We had chances late again," he said. "We were one hit away from tying or winning it in all three games. That was the story of the series." The Indians were 3-for-29 (.103) with runners in scoring position for the series. Although they rallied from a 6-1 deficit Sunday, the missed chances were again a big part of the game. Cleveland scored a run in the seventh, but left the bases loaded in that inning. The Indians loaded them again with nobody out in the eighth, scoring twice to made it a two-run game. The ninth inning had a promising start when Grady Sizemore and Jamey Carroll drew walks off Roy Corcoran. After Victor Martinez struck out, Jhonny Peralta walked to load the bases. Ryan Garko sent a ground ball toward the mound, which Corcoran managed to get a glove on. Shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt fielded the ball and flipped to second baseman Jose Lopez, who threw to first for the double play. The Indians were 2-for-12 (.167) with runners in scoring position Sunday. "That's tough," Wedge said. "That's baseball." The Mariners' five-run fifth, featuring errors by pitcher Zach Jackson and Martinez, who was playing first, didn't help the Tribe's cause. A tie game turned into a big deficit. Jackson's only mistake through the first four innings was the first of Adrian Beltre's two home runs, a solo shot to lead off the second. Shin-Soo Choo answered with his homer in the bottom of the inning. Jackson's problems began when he hit Jeff Clement with one out in the fifth. The left-hander compounded that mistake when Miguel Cairo bunted toward the third-base line. Jackson fielded the ball and made a wild throw to first, sending Clement to third and Cairo -- who was credited with a single -- to second. "That's a ball [Jackson] needs to eat," Wedge said. "He had no play on that ball. It kind of dominoed from there." Jackson didn't think he made the wrong play. "I tried to make a good play, and be aggressive, and I threw it away," he said. "I wouldn't have done anything different. I would have tried to do the same thing." Even though first base was open, Wedge elected to pitch to Ichiro Suzuki because Raul Ibanez and Beltre were looming later in the inning. Suzuki blooped a single to right, putting Seattle up, 2-1. "I thought I made a great pitch," Jackson said. "He just put his bat on the ball. What else can you do?" With Betancourt batting, Jackson threw to first to keep Suzuki close, but Martinez, playing at first for the second time since returning from elbow surgery, couldn't handle the throw, allowing Cairo to score. Suzuki moved to second and scored on Ibanez's single to center. Beltre finished off the inning with a homer into the bleachers. Jackson, making his fourth start since being called up from Triple-A Buffalo on Aug. 14, allowed six runs and seven hits in five innings, falling to 0-1. He struck out five and walked one. Jackson was acquired from Milwaukee in the trade that sent pitcher CC Sabathia to the Brewers on July 7. Andy Marte had an RBI single in the seventh, but the Indians left the bases loaded when Martinez flied out to end the inning. The Indians scored two in the eighth. Franklin Gutierrez drove in a run with a fielder's choice and Garko scored on a throwing error by Lopez, but Kelly Shoppach grounded out and Suzuki took away a run with a sliding catch of Marte's fly ball.
Steve Herrick is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.