Well, the Seattle Mariners didn’t have to use Juan Nicasio or Edwin Diaz for the fourth consecutive game.
At least, if the Mariners were looking for something positive.
Erasmo Ramirez joined some rare territory, and not in a good way. He allowed five solo home runs in five innings in the Mariners’ 6-5 loss to the Cleveland Indians and reigning American League Cy Young winner Corey Kluber on Friday at Progressive Field — despite a late Mariners rally in the ninth inning.
Ramirez is one of four pitchers in Mariners history to allow five home runs in a game, joining Jason Vargas (2012), Jamie Moyer (2006) and Mark Langston (1988).
“Erasmo just made too many mistakes in the middle of the plate,” Mariners manager Scott Servais told reporters afterward. “And the home runs certainly hurt us.”
By the time Mitch Haniger hit his ninth home run of the season (the Angels’ Mike Trout entered the day leading the majors with 10 HRs), the Indians had already built a 6-0 lead in the seventh inning.
Haniger’s shot was about the only mistake Kluber made in earning his fourth win in five starts. The Mariners entered having handed Kluber his only loss this year, a 2-1 win on Opening Day at Safeco Field.
But Kluber’s revenge ended the Mariners’ (14-11) three-game win streak, and their three-game streak of a starter going at least six innings.
And the Indians spotted him a three-run lead with three home runs in the first inning.
“Scoring multiple runs against a pitcher like that is always tough,” Haniger said. “He’s a Cy Young pitcher and he’s got really good stuff and we spotted him. But I thought we did a good job battling back.”
Kluber pitched 82⁄3 innings before Kyle Seager’s single with two outs in the ninth inning chased him after 116 pitches.
So the Indians turned to closer Cody Allen and Haniger followed with a double off of the wall. Mike Zunino then crushed a three-run home run — his third home run in the past six games.
Ben Gamel lined out to end the game.
But Ramirez put the Mariners in too big a hole. He lasted five innings, allowing six runs on nine hits with five strikeouts in his second start since being activated off the disabled list.
He actually appeared to find something of a groove from the third to the fifth inning, but then former Mariner Yonder Alonso led off the sixth inning with a solo home run (his third in five games against his former team this year) and Yan Gomes made it back-to-back homers the next batter.
“They were just swinging at the first pitch,” Ramirez said. “A little high, but I was attacking more this time. These guys just don’t mess around with the first-pitch strikes. They got really good contact and the bad news was everything was way gone.
“That’s a big part of the game is just keeping the ball inside the ball park and give yourself more of a chance to win ball games.”
It was the second back-to-back for the Indians. Francisco Lindor led off the bottom of the first with a solo shot and two batters later Michael Brantley hit one followed by Edwin Encarnacion”
The Mariners pitching staff entered the game allowing 1.4 home runs per nine innings (tied for the third-most in the major leagues).
“Offensively we’re fine,” Servais said. “We just got to get a little more consistent with Erasmo and some of our starters.”
Brantley had a day, finishing with the home run, a sacrifice fly to the warning track in center field, a triple and a single.
The Indians had 13 hits in eight innings against Mariners’ pitching, though Marc Rzepczynski and Wade LeBlanc combined to throw three scoreless innings in relief.
But, worse for the Mariners, Dee Gordon was removed from the game for the seventh inning after jumping awkwardly and crashing into the wall chasing Gomes’ home run in the sixth inning.
The Mariners had announced it was for precautionary reasons. Andrew Romine replaced him.
“Dee should be OK,” Servais said. “When he jumped at the wall he kind of felt his knee give a little bit. But he’s OK. He checked out fine. I just thought where we are at in the ball game and give him a couple of innings to recoup. Hopefully he’ll be OK tomorrow.”