SEATTLE -- It took a walk-off two-run blast by Nelson Cruz, but the Mariners found a way to derail the red-hot Indians on Friday night with a 3-1 win at Safeco Field and keep their fading postseason hopes alive in the process. The loss ended Cleveland's franchise-record road winning streak at 14 games.
Cruz homered for the third time in the past three games, this one a game-winner off Indians closer Cody Allen after Robinson Cano's leadoff single in the ninth. Cruz now has 36 home runs and an American League-leading 114 RBIs. Though he's hit 36-plus homers for four straight years, it was his first walk-off since 2010 while with Texas.
"For a big power guy, down is probably not [the place to pitch him]," Indians manager Terry Francona said of Allen's pitch to Cruz. "He's been one of the best, productive bats in the league for a while now, and it doesn't seem to be going with age. He seems to be every bit as good as he ever was."
The loss was just the second in the past 29 games for Cleveland, one win shy of the best 29-game stretch in MLB history, set by the 1884 Providence Grays. The Indians fell to two games back of the Dodgers for the best record in the Majors at 96-68 after Los Angeles defeated San Francisco on Friday night.
Seattle snapped a six-game losing streak behind an outstanding pitching effort by right-hander Erasmo Ramirez. The 27-year-old threw eight innings of one-run ball, allowing just three hits with 10 strikeouts and no walks in his best start since being acquired from the Rays on July 28. The innings and strikeouts both equaled career highs.
"That's a great team," said Ramirez, who has a 3.79 ERA in 10 starts for Seattle. "They have so many wins, such great hitters and pitchers. They've been dealing. That winning streak, you don't want to be part of that. To be able to go and execute pitches and go deep in the game was something huge. I am just I'm really happy about what happened today."
The Indians' only tally against Ramirez came on a leadoff homer in the third by Giovanny Urshela, after which Ramirez retired 18 straight batters before turning over a 1-1 tie to closer Edwin Diaz, who struck out two in a perfect ninth for the victory.
"[Ramirez] pitched really well," Francona said. "He located the fastball, and off of that, whether it was a changeup, cutter or breaking ball, he really pitched a good game. We had a couple swings early where we just missed. But other than Gio, he really just pitched a really nice game."
Trevor Bauer was equally strong for Cleveland, as he allowed just one run on five hits over seven innings, the run coming after Jay Bruce bobbled Yonder Alonso's single in the seventh. Bauer, who took the loss in his last start to snap the Indians' 22-game win streak, remains 16-9 with a 4.28 ERA with the no-decision.
Seattle's playoff hopes are slim, but the Mariners are 75-79 and five games back of the Twins for the AL's final Wild Card spot with eight games remaining.
"The last six days have been tough on the guys," said Mariners manager Scott Servais. "It's really bothered them that we haven't gotten it done after working so hard to get in that spot. I felt today, coming into the clubhouse, our guys were ready to play. We know what we're up against. We played a good game tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Not your normal power source: The Indians have a lot of weapons, but Urshela isn't the guy you'd expect to provide the punch. Yet it was the 25-year-old utility man who got them on the board with his leadoff homer in the third inning, driving a 1-2 pitch over the fence in left field for his first home run in 137 at-bats on the season. Urshela's last big league home run came on Sept. 14, 2015, during his six-homer rookie season.
Evening the score: Bauer pitched his way out of trouble a couple of times -- striking out Kyle Seager with a nasty curve after a pair of two-out walks in the first, and getting Cruz to pop out after a pair of two-out singles in the sixth. But Seattle finally pushed a run across in the seventh, tying the game at 1-1 when Seager led off with a double and Alonso singled to right, with Seager scoring when Bruce didn't come up with the ball cleanly. The run wound up being earned when Ben Gamel followed with a flyout that would have scored Seager from third anyway.
"I felt really good out there. I was just kind of off a little bit. I threw a couple bad breaking balls to Cano. When you throw some bad pitches like that to some really good hitters, more often than not they're going to beat you. I felt really good. I felt like I had decent stuff, in terms of velocity and things like that, but just my timing was a little off. It is what it is." -- Allen, who returned after a two-day break because of mild soreness following his save on Tuesday in Anaheim
"This was a nice game to win. It's Fan Appreciation Night. We certainly appreciate the fans hanging in with us, because it's not easy. It's not easy for us, the way our season has gone and the way the expectations were and how it's played out. We're hot for a while, we're cold for a while -- it can get frustrating. But we appreciate everybody that was here tonight. It means a lot to us." -- Servais
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Ramirez became Seattle's first starter to go eight or more innings with 10 or more strikeouts since Taijuan Walker on Sept. 13 of last season against the Angels.
Though it was Cruz's first walk-off homer since 2010, he's had 10 career walk-off hits, three this season.
WHAT'S NEXT Indians: Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (16-6, 3.48 ERA) will take the ball for the Tribe in Saturday's 4:10 p.m. ET tilt with the Mariners at Safeco Field. Carrasco is 10-2 with a 2.71 ERA in 16 road starts this year, and he is 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA in his last five starts overall.
Mariners:Andrew Moore (1-4, 5.40 ERA) gets his ninth start of the season on Saturday at 1:10 p.m. PT. The 23-year-old rookie right-hander has been solid since his September callup, posting a 3.24 ERA in 16 2/3 innings over three outings.