Farquhar shines in Mariners’ debut

CLEVELAND — Danny Farquhar’s debut with the Seattle Mariners went slightly better than his major league debut in 2011 with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Back then, Farquhar lasted just 2/3 of an inning, giving up three runs on four hits with two walks. He would pitch just two more times in the big leagues with Toronto that season.

But if he pitches like he did on Saturday, Farquhar could be a contributor for the Mariners bullpen. The diminutive, hard-throwing right-hander pitched 22/3 shutout innings, not allowing a hit and striking out five batters.

He looked dominant against a good Indians lineup, shutting down Cleveland before the Mariners rallied to tie the score in the ninth before losing in the bottom of the ninth, 5-4, at Progressive Field.

“He really competed out there and he had good stuff,” Mariners manager Eric Wedge said. “He kept us in the ball game. It was a great first outing.”

Farquhar replaced Joe Saunders in the sixth inning, coming into the game with one out and runners on first and second.

“I was a little nervous,” Farquhar said.

Farquhar struck out Asdrubal Cabrera looking and got Nick Swisher to ground out to end the inning.

“It felt good to get out of that situation,” Farquhar said.

Farquhar hadn’t pitched in five days, but showed little sign of rust. He got ahead of hitters and put them away, showing a fastball that touched 95 mph

“Getting ahead of a hitter is just crucial,” Farquhar said. “It’s crazy how much easier it is to pitch when you are ahead. You can relax and let those two strike pitches eat and just throw as hard as you can to your spot.”

Ryan’s hot hitting

With a hard hit single in the third inning, shortstop Brendan Ryan was able to extend his hitting streak.

A hitting streak for Ryan?

Yes, implausible as it may seem, Ryan has hit in five straight games. And while he isn’t challenging Joe DiMaggio’s record 56-game hit streak, it is an improvement.

“I’m just trying to stay committed to the approach and swing at good pitches,” he said. “I’m just finding the barrel a little bit better.”

Ryan’s big hit came in the eighth inning when he hit a two-run homer to left field through a driving wind. It was his first homer since September 12 of last season and the 16th of his career.

“I don’t even know what I hit,” he said.

The home run gave Ryan back-to-back games with extra base hits after his double on Friday night. He had gone 109 plate appearances without an extra base hit. Over the past five games, he’s raised his average from .122 to .178, going 8-for-18.

Short hops

Joe Saunders has yet to pitch a 1-2-3 inning in any of his road starts. … Justin Smoak had his team-leading 24th walk of the season and has 12 walks in his past 12 games. … Kendrys Morales extended his hitting streak to a season-high eight games. … Jason Bay appeared in center field for the first time since Sept. 20, 2005 in the eighth inning. It was the 41st career game in center field in his career (37 starts).

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