Robinson Cano not only launched a pitch out of the ballpark Sunday to key Seattle’s 3-0 win over the Cleveland Indians, he hopes he also sent a message to anyone who might think about throwing at him high and tight.
In the bottom of the sixth inning of a scoreless tie, Cano belted a pitch from Cleveland’s T.J. House for a two-run homer.
That offering came two pitches after House had dusted off Cano to start the at-bat.
Cano said the obvious, that he wasn’t happy about the close shave.
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“Any time you see a ball close to your face or your head, that’s the last thing you want to happen,’’ he said. “Not only that, I mean the last two weeks I’ve been seeing that a lot.’’
Cano said he hopes pitchers realize “they are never going to scare me or change my approach because they pitch me inside.’’
Certainly, he looked unafraid when he smashed House’s pitch for his fifth home run of the year. Not only did that homer give Seattle all the runs it needed to back up Felix Hernandez’s pitching gem, but it also snapped Cano’s recent slump. He was 3 for 29 at the time, and zero for his last 14, his longest hitless streak in almost two years.
Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said he thinks Cano has been reaching for pitches out of the strike zone a bit more than usual.
“He’s just got to be a little bit more patient,’’ he said. “Got to take the walks. … Today he got some pitches he could handle and he did a pretty good job with them.’’
Cano also singled in the eighth when he beat out a high chopper to second.
The homer came with Michael Saunders on third base and no outs, and Cano said all he was trying to do was find a pitch “I could hit out of the infield.’’
That it ended his skid was all the better.
“When you go through a slump, you look at video and what I’m doing,’’ he said. “This game is going to go up and down and I’ve been here before. So I’m not trying to put my head down or do too much. Just keep the same swing and the same routine.’’
Romero sent down, replaced by Walker
The Mariners announced after the game that outfielder Stefen Romero was being sent down to Tacoma.
The move is being made to make room for pitcher Taijuan Walker, who will be recalled in time for Monday’s game at Houston, where he will make his first start of the season after recovering from a shoulder injury.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @bcondotta.