The Mariners lose their second straight game and struggle to find a breakthrough hit (0 for 10) with men in scoring position.
CLEVELAND — Wade Miley could rely on his defense making double plays for only so long before the carousel of base runners, the passel of hits and his hibernating command would eventually lead to something more than missed opportunities for the Cleveland Indians.
The escape act lasted for 2 2/3 innings, to be exact. And then it all fell apart in a 3-2 loss to Cleveland for Miley and the Mariners.
Seattle dropped its second game in a row to fall to 5-8 on the season, while Miley sank to 0-2 in three starts.
Mariners @ Cleveland, 3:10 p.m., ROOT Sports
“I just lost it,” he said. “I don’t know what happened … That’s the one you lose sleep over.”
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Miley gave up five hits over the first two innings, but didn’t allow a run. A double play with runners on first and second ended the first inning, and a double play with the bases loaded ended the second inning.
The third double play in three innings registered two quick outs in the bottom of the third. But Miley couldn’t close it out, giving up his first run on back-to-back doubles to Francisco Lindor and Mike Napoli. With a cold wind blowing in from center, Napoli was still strong enough to crush a curveball over Leonys Martin’s head.
Miley never made it out of the fourth inning. After striking out Yan Gomes to start the frame, he allowed a single to Marlon Byrd and then lost his command, walking three straight batters to force in a run. It was a surprising sequence of events considering Miley hadn’t walked a single hitter this season.
“I got to thinking,” he said. “It’s something I don’t do a whole lot. I just got real mechanical and lost it.”
With two outs, Miley walked Lindor to force in another run to make it 3-0.
“That game is 100 percent on me,” he said. “I’ve got to do a better job to minimize right there.”
Manager Scott Servais was forced to go to his bullpen. Mike Montgomery came on and coaxed a ground-ball out to third base from Napoli to end the inning.
Miley’s line: 32/3 innings, three runs on nine hits with four walks and two strikeouts. If not for double plays, those numbers would have been much higher.
“I just didn’t feel like I had really sharp stuff going in and obviously the first three innings it showed,” he said. “I gave up a bunch of hits. I got lucky to get the ground balls when I did got them to get out of those innings. But when I got to the fourth inning, my luck ran out. I just couldn’t throw a strike. That’s the frustrating part, not making competitive pitches to give me a chance to even get out of it.”
It wasn’t any one particular pitch or one specific problem.
“It was everything,” he said. “I wish I could have found one pitch I could throw over the plate. I tried them all. It’s got to be better. Point blank: It’s got to be better.”
Miley hasn’t had a solid start in his first three, but Servais isn’t panicking.
“It’s still early and Wade has a lot of track record,” Servais said. “I certainly like having him out there and trust. He’s frustrated right now. He’s better than that.”
To be fair, three runs shouldn’t have been an impossible deficit to overcome. But going 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position doesn’t help.
“We had some chances early in the game, and we just couldn’t get the big two-out hit,” Servais said. “They were able to get the big outs early in the game.”
Unlike Miley, Indians starter Carlos Carrasco was able to work past his early command issues and remain in the game. Carrasco had multiple runners on base in the first, third and fourth innings but never yielded a run.
After his teammates pushed the lead to 3-0 in the fourth inning, Carrasco came out and posted a shutdown 1-2-3 fifth inning.
Seattle’s lone run against Carrasco came in the sixth inning. Kyle Seager, who had a sharp single off Carrasco in his previous at-bat, pounced on a 1-0 changeup and drove it into the right-field seats for his second homer of the season.
“I definitely took some better swings tonight,” Seager said.
In the search for positives, Montgomery and Tony Zych were solid in relief, combining to work the last 4 1/3 innings without allowing a run to keep the Mariners in the game.
“They’ve been great, about as good as we can imagine,” Servais said of his relievers.
Because of that, the Mariners made it interesting in the ninth inning against Cleveland closer Cody Allen. Adam Lind led off the inning with a double to left and later came around to score on Martin’s ground-ball out to second. But with two outs and the Mariners down 3-2, Allen struck out pinch-hitter Franklin Gutierrez to end the game.