PEORIA, Ariz. — After rolling to a five-run second inning, highlighted by Daniel Vogelbach’s solo homer and Domingo Santana’s two-run single, the Seattle Mariners were held scoreless the rest of the game in a 6-5 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday.
Seattle’s young candidates for middle relievers in the big league bullpen couldn’t hold the lead after starter Mike Leake worked three scoreless innings and Hunter Strickland worked a dominant fourth inning. Right-hander Matt Festa gave up three runs in the sixth inning, including back-to-back RBI triples. Festa limited the damage to three runs, striking out Carlos Santana and Leonys Martin to end the inning.
“Festa wasn’t very sharp,” Servais said. “He just didn’t have the crispness to his pitches. I will give him a ton of credit. He did battle through it and got a couple of strikeouts to get out of the inning.
Cleveland took the lead for good in the seventh against right-hander Brandon Brennan, who gave up a leadoff single, issued a walk and then surrendered a three-run homer to Max Moroff. Brennan never made it out of the inning.
“The command wasn’t normally what it is for him,” Servais said. “His go to pitch is that changeup and he struggled to get it over the plate today.”
Player of the game
Mike Leake was solid, working three shutout innings and allowing only one baserunner — a one-out single in the second inning. He was efficient and pitched on a steady pace, striking out three while not walking a batter.
“I thought Mike threw the ball really today. He worked both sides of the plate with a good sinker and a good changeup. He’s starting to get some arm strength built up. I thought he had good life on all of his pitches today. Definitely a good sign there. I also thought Hunter Strickland threw the ball outstanding. He had a very good breaking pitch along with a lively fastball.” — Servais.
The Mariners return “home” to Peoria Stadium on Thursday to host the Chicago White Sox. Right-hander Felix Hernandez will get the start for Seattle, while Chicago will go with right-hander Lucas Giolito. Also scheduled to pitch for the Mariners is left-hander Roenis Elias and right-handers Justin Dunn, David McKay and Robin Leyer. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. locally and 12:10 p.m. Pacific. The game will be televised by Root Sports. A live radio broadcast will be carried by ESPN 710 and mariners.com.