Tribe takes win, series in 12th after 18-hit attack
By Jordan Bastian and Adam Lewis
SEATTLE -- The Cleveland Indians capped a turnaround May with a 6-3, 12-inning win over the Seattle Mariners on Sunday at Safeco Field.
In a game that lasted more than four-and-a-half hours, left fielder Michael Brantley earned a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the top of the 12th against reliever Dominic Leone, who dropped to 0-4. Right fielder David Murphy followed with a two-run single that broke open a 4-3 game.
"What else is there to say? Unfortunately it was just one of those days where I didn't have it," Leone said. "I told [catcher Welington Castillo] thanks for sticking in there for me because everything was flying out."
The decider came hours after left-hander J.A. Happ allowed two runs over five-plus innings in outdueling Indians right-hander Danny Salazar, who allowed three runs over 5 1/3 frames while striking out five and walking four. Both had to settle for the no-decision on an afternoon when the Mariners and Indians struggled to convert their chances.
The Indians pounded out 18 hits but left runners in scoring position in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings before finally coming through in the 12th. They left 17 on base and finished 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position. Cleveland's bullpen combined for 6 2/3 scoreless innings to give time for the offense to break through.
"There was a lot of frustration during the game, but we kept at it," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "I was glad, when we got one, we got more, because you know that they've got those big guys coming up, if anybody gets on base."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Kipnis gets Nos. 50, 51: With two outs in the third inning, Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis slashed a pitch from Happ into the left-center field gap for a double. The hit marked his 50th in May, representing the most in a single calendar month for a Cleveland batter since Roberto Alomar in September 2000. Kipnis added another double in the fifth and pulled the game into a 3-3 tie with a sac fly in the eighth inning. More >
"I don't think just because we're starting a new month," Francona said, "that [changes] anything about him. But, when you start throwing those names around, he had an unbelievable month. Now, I don't care about the month. I think he's an unbelievable player and he does so many things to help us win. It's been like that for a while now. He's been a force."
Ackley sparks offense: Mariners left fielder Dustin Ackley entered Sunday with a .181 batting average. But he put his rut on hold in the fifth inning when he laid a perfect bunt down the third-base line. Indians third baseman Mike Aviles fielded, threw low, and the ball got by Kipnis, who was covering first. That scored Logan Morrison from second to give the Mariners a 1-0 lead. Aviles' error helped set up a three-run push for Seattle.
Raburn delivers: Seattle's rally in the fifth might have continued longer had it not been for a highlight-reel catch by Ryan Raburn. With two outs and a runners on third, slugger Nelson Cruz sent a line drive to the right-center gap, where Raburn ran it down and robbed the hit with a diving grab to end the inning. A few minutes later, he led off the sixth with a home run to the right-field seats to put the Indians on the board.
Rally killer: The Indians appeared to be in great shape following an RBI single by Michael Bourn that cut Seattle's lead to 3-2 in the sixth. With no outs and the bases loaded, though, Jose Ramirez hit a sharp grounder to Morrison, who stepped on first for an out, and then quickly threw home to get Yan Gomes. Kipnis followed with an inning-ending groundout against Mariners lefty Charlie Furbush.
"I was going to warm up, go back to my Little League days." --McClendon on who would have pitched after Leone if the game went deeper into extra innings. The Mariners used all seven relievers.
PLAYING UNDER PROTEST
Following a controversial call in the top of the 12th inning, the Indians informed the umpire crew that they were playing the remainder of Sunday's game under protest. The final out of the top half came when Brandon Moss chopped a pitch that was fielded by Morrison, who stepped on first base for an apparent out. First-base umpire Mark Ripperger, however, quickly called the ball foul. After Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon argued, the umpires discussed the situation and changed the call to an out. Before the bottom of the 12th, Francona emerged from the dugout and issued an official protest, which was rescinded with Cleveland's win.
"The umpire called it foul," Francona said. "Once he calls it foul, the ball is dead. Whether he got it wrong, it's dead. [Crew chief Jeff Kellogg] basically didn't have a good argument coming back. I said, 'But, we're not hitting anymore, so I need to protect us in case something happens.' The rules are, when the umpire calls it foul, it's foul. The play's over."
"The rules say, if you call a foul ball, it's a dead ball," McClendon said. "From my interpretation, the out was made before the foul ball was called. He stepped on first before a foul ball was called, so it doesn't make any difference now. I wish they would've sent it in [under protest]. Then, we would have won the game."
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Following an off-day on Monday, the Indians open a three-game series in Kansas City on Tuesday with a chance to cut into the Royals' lead in the American League Central standings. Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (6-4, 4.24 ERA) will take the ball for Cleveland, having gone 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his past two turns for the Tribe.
Mariners: After tossing a shutout against the Tampa Bay Rays in his last outing, right-hander Felix Hernandez (8-1, 1.91) will look to build off his standout season when the Mariners welcome the New York Yankees to Safeco Field on Monday for the opener of a three-game series. Right-hander Michael Pineda (6-2, 3.36 ERA) gets the nod for the Yankees in what marks his first start against the Mariners since they sent him to New York as part of a January, 2012 trade that brought Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi to Seattle.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. Adam Lewis is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.