The Seattle Mariners ended a six-game losing streak in dramatic fashion and look to keep alive their slim postseason hopes when they host the American League Central champion Cleveland Indians on Saturday for the middle contest of their three-game series. Nelson Cruz hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday to give Seattle a 3-1 victory and send Cleveland to just its second loss in 29 games.
Cruz has gone deep in three consecutive contests and is well aware his team’s chances at landing the AL’s second wild card aren’t strong as it trails Minnesota by five games with eight remaining. “We are running out of time and the other guys are winning,” Cruz said in a postgame television interview. “We need to win almost every game and take advantage of the opportunities we get.” The Indians saw their lead over Houston for the best record in the AL trimmed to 1 1/2 games and had their franchise-record 14-game road winning streak halted. Friday’s game marked the first time Cleveland was held to one run since Aug. 23, a loss to Boston, before the stretch of 27 wins in 28 games began.
TV: 4:10 p.m. ET, SportsTime Ohio (Cleveland), ROOT Northwest (Seattle)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Indians RH Carlos Carrasco (16-6, 3.48 ERA) vs. Mariners RH Andrew Moore (1-4, 5.40)
Carrasco is 4-0 over his last five starts with 39 strikeouts against three walks in 35 2/3 innings during the stretch. The 30-year-old gave up two runs during a four-start span before allowing four and eight hits in 6 2/3 frames while beating Kansas City in his last turn. Carrasco lost to the Mariners on April 28, when he gave up three runs and six hits over eight innings and is 2-2 with a 2.96 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against them.
Moore lost to the Astros in his last start, when he gave up three runs and seven hits over 4 2/3 innings. The 23-year-old is making his ninth major-league start and has had issues keeping the ball inside the park (13 homers allowed in 55 innings). Moore is faring well in September with a 3.24 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 16 2/3 innings despite losing his lone decision.
1. Mariners 2B Robinson Cano, who is 11-for-28 during his seven-game hitting streak, is 7-for-17 with two homers against Carrasco.
2. Cleveland 1B Carlos Santana was hitless in three at-bats in the opener and is just 2-for-19 over his last five contests.
3. Seattle 1B Yonder Alonso is 1-for-14 over his last six games and is mired in a 13-game homerless drought.
PREDICTION: Indians 6, Mariners 1