The Mariners’ Nelson Cruz points to fans as he runs the bases after hitting a walk-off home run in the ninth inning of a game against the Indians on Sept. 22, 2017, in Seattle. The Mariners won 3-1. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The Mariners’ Nelson Cruz points to fans as he runs the bases after hitting a walk-off home run in the ninth inning of a game against the Indians on Sept. 22, 2017, in Seattle. The Mariners won 3-1. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Cruz hits walk-off HR as M’s top Indians 3-1 to snap skid

The two-run shot backed a brilliant 8-inning outing from Seattle starter Erasmo Ramirez.

SEATTLE — Say this much. The Seattle Mariners know how to stage a Fan Appreciation Night.

Nelson Cruz delivered a two-run homer Friday in the ninth inning that produced a 3-1 walk-off victory over Cleveland’s nearly unbeatable Indians at Safeco Field after Erasmo Ramirez worked eight dazzling innings.

All of which proves you just never know.

The Mariners had lost a season-high six games in a row before Cruz’s 405-foot blast against Cody Allen (3-7) sent the Indians to only their second loss in the last 29 games.

“They’re the best in the American League,” Cruz said. “They have the (best) record, and they good offense and good pitching. Ramirez was the key. He kept us in game until we were able to score some runs.”

Cruz’s homer was his 36th of the season and boosted his American League-leading RBI count to 114. It also came after he was honored as the Mariners’ player of the year in a pre-game ceremony.

“That’s what you need to beat good teams,” manager Scott Servais said. “You’ve got to get the big hit late. You’ve got to make the plays late in the game. Obviously the last six days we haven’t done that.”

Ramirez settled for a no-decision after allowing only one run and three hits over eight innings. He also had 10 strikeouts and didn’t walk a batter. The eight innings and 10 strikeouts matched career highs.

And yet …

“I’m just happy,” he said. “I can not describe how happy I am. To be able to get back on track after that homer (by Giovanny Urshela), it was something huge. It’s so great to be back on the winning side.”

It represented a fabulous bounce back by Ramirez after giving up six runs over four innings in his previous start against Houston. Prior to that, he had a string of six straight quality starts.

“We haven’t had a outing like that in quite some time,” Servais said. “To get through eight innings against a very talented team. It really all starts with pitching, and the job he did on the mound tonight was awesome.”

Cleveland starter Trevor Bauer, who suffered the only loss in the Indians’ previous 28 games, was nearly as good in limiting the Mariners to one run and five hits in seven innings.

The victory lifted the Mariners to 75-79 but, with eight games left, they remained five games behind Minnesota in the race for the American League’s final wild-card berth.

The Indians opened the scoring when Urshela led off the third inning with a no-doubt homer to left. It was his first big-league homer of the season and came in his 146th plate appearance.

The Mariners didn’t get even until Cleveland’s defense betrayed Bauer in the seventh inning.

Kyle Seager led off with a double off the glove of first baseman Carlos Santana. Yonder Alonso followed with a single through the right side. Seager initially stopped at third but chugged home when right fielder Jay Bruce misplayed the ball.

It stayed 1-1 until Cruz’s boomstick moment.

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