By August Fagerstrom and Alejandro Zúñiga
CLEVELAND -- A rookie and a veteran led the Indians to a 6-0 victory over the Mariners in the series finale at Progressive Field on Thursday afternoon. Ninth-year pitcher Shaun Marcum held Seattle scoreless over a season-high seven innings, while Giovanny Urshela delivered the first two hits of his career, including a home run.
Mariners starter J.A. Happ was bounced after recording just seven outs, having allowed four earned runs on six hits and two walks. The leadoff man reached in all three innings he began, and he racked up a high pitch count, throwing 29 pitches in the first frame and 37 more in the second.
"I don't think anybody in baseball is going to let his pitcher go out there and throw 90 pitches in three innings," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "You just can't do that."
Marcum turned in his finest start of the season, striking out five batters and allowing just three baserunners on a single, a double and a hit-by-pitch. The Indians' bullpen picked up where Marcum left off, as relievers Zach McAllister and Cody Allen each worked a perfect inning to shut the door.
"It feels good," Marcum said. "It was nice to get out there and be able to locate the ball, take what I've been working on between starts and actually have it happen."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Perfect start: Marcum retired the first nine Mariners he faced, four of which were retired via the strikeout (three looking). Seattle didn't have a baserunner until Marcum hit leadoff man Logan Morrison to start the fourth inning, and it didn't have a hit until Mark Trumbo's one-out single in the fifth.
"Yeah, that was really good," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "Change speeds, stay out of the middle of the plate, don't walk anybody. And today, the way the ballpark played, it was playing so big and he knew that. It took kind of the sting out for the most part, and there were a couple balls hit real well that just weren't going." More >
Third-inning mis-Happ: After laboring through the first two frames, Happ unraveled in the third, allowing three singles before being pulled at 77 pitches. Michael Brantley and Ryan Raburn reached on sharply hit ground balls to right field, and Brandon Moss followed with a broken-bat bloop into shallow center field to chase Happ, who entered having allowed two runs or fewer in eight of 11 starts this year.
"They took a lot of pitches close to the strike zone; they fouled a lot of pitches off," Happ said. "That was kind of the difference, I guess." More >
Young guns: The Indians began the scoring with a second-inning bloop single by the recently recalled 25-year-old Zach Walters. Urshela later tacked on his first career hit in the third, followed by a two-run single by second-year catcher Roberto Perez. Urshela added to his big day with his first career home run in the fifth inning. In total, five of the six Indians runs were driven in by players with fewer than two years service time. More >
"I don't care what their age is, just want us to win and play well," Francona said. "I thought Zach did a good job today, filling in for [Jason Kipnis]. He played a good second base and got a big hit for us early. And then Roberto … we scored three and he got the last two that inning, that was huge for us to spread it out a little bit."
Missing offense: A day after breaking a 13-game streak of scoring three runs or fewer with a nine-run outburst, Seattle's struggles at the plate made an unwelcome comeback. The club didn't record a hit until Trumbo grounded a single into left field with one out in the fifth inning, and it was shut out for the fourth time this year. The one positive was Robinson Cano's double to lead off the seventh, giving the second baseman three extra-base knocks in the series.
"He's starting to swing better," McClendon said. "He hit a couple of balls on the nose." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Until Happ's poor showing, Mariners starters had recorded eight consecutive quality starts. The left-hander's 2 1/3-inning outing snapped the streak, which was the club's longest since June 2013.
Indians second baseman Kipnis received an off-day after playing every game so far this season. After recording a double in the ninth inning of Wednesday night's game, Kipnis extended his home hitting streak to 20 games, breaking the record for the longest by a Cleveland hitter at Progressive Field.
WHAT'S NEXT Mariners: Seattle's road trip continues with a three-day stint in Houston, and the Mariners will send Felix Hernandez (9-2, 2.51 ERA) to the hill for Game 1. The ace leads the American League in wins (nine) and opponents' batting average (.196). First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PT.
Indians: Cleveland and Danny Salazar (6-1, 3.50 ERA) travel to Detroit to begin a brief five-game road trip. Salazar has pitched as well against Detroit as any other team in his career, owning a career 2.93 ERA with 45 strikeouts and just eight walks in six career starts against the typically-potent Tigers lineup