The Indians needed something good to happen after watching their ace go down. Tyler Naquin came through for Cleveland.
Naquin’s pinch-hit single with two outs in the ninth inning gave the Indians a 2-1 win over the Seattle Mariners on Friday night. Naquin, batting for Jordan Luplow, grounded the first pitch from Anthony Swarzak through the right side to score Leonys Martin from second base.
Naquin was mobbed his teammates down the right field line after Cleveland’s second walkoff win of the season.
The Indians needed a boost after placing pitcher Corey Kluber on the 10-day injured list before the game. Kluber broke his right arm after being hit by a line drive Wednesday and is out indefinitely. The Indians said Kluber does not need surgery for now and will be re-examined in three to four weeks.
Manager Terry Francona met with the players following batting practice to remind them the best way to deal with adversity is to stay focused and approach things one day at a time.
“Everybody in the baseball world knows that Klubes is the horse of the staff,” Naquin said. “A two-time Cy Young winner speaks for himself. He’ll be missed, but we have some guys step up and fill that role.”
Swarzak (2-1) walked Francisco Lindor on four pitches to start the ninth, snapping a streak of 13 straight retired by Seattle pitchers. Martin fouled off a bunt attempt on the first pitch before hitting a groundball that forced Lindor. Jose Ramirez struck out, but Santana drew another four-pitch walk.
That set things up for Naquin, who used one of catcher Kevin Plawecki’s bat.
“It’s got his name on it,” Naquin said. “It reminds me of him when I walk up there, so that’s good. I’ve been using it for a week or so.”
Brad Hand (1-1) struck out two in the ninth to earn the win.
Rookie left-hander Yusei Kikuchi allowed one run and struck out a career-high 10 in seven innings. Kikuchi retired the last 10 hitters he faced, striking out six of the final seven.
“Yusei did a great job, the best we’ve seen since he’s been a Mariner,” manager Scott Servais said. “He continues to grow and I thought he was great tonight.”
Added Kikuchi: “I was able to think one inning at a time. That was my philosophy, to zero in on each inning.”
The Mariners have lost five straight and are 5-14 since starting the season with a 13-2 record.
Indians starter Shane Bieber allowed one run — a one-out homer by Jay Bruce in the fourth — and struck out eight in a career-high 7 2/3 innings.
Kluber and Mike Clevinger (strained upper back muscle) are out of Cleveland’s rotation for the time being.
“If anything, you just want to step up a little bit more, but it doesn’t change your approach at all,” Bieber said.
Bruce’s 10th home run of the season came on a 1-1 pitch in the fourth, but the lead was brief. Martin broke an 0-for-21 slump with a leadoff double for Cleveland’s first hit. Ramirez singled and Martin scored on Santana’s double-play grounder.
Mariners: 3B Ryon Healy (groin tightness) was removed in the fifth inning and replaced by Dylan Moore. Healy struck out and grounded out before leaving the game.
Indians: Kluber’s injury has caused the rotation to be shuffled. RHP Cody Anderson will pitch Sunday and RHP Jefry Rodriguez will start Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox. Both will be called up from Triple-A Columbus. RHP Trevor Bauer will start Monday instead of Sunday.
Swarzak struggled with his command in the ninth, throwing only eight of his 18 pitches for strikes.
“It was the walks that hurt Anthony,” Servais said. “He made some pitches, but couldn’t escape those walks.”
TAKE A BOW
Lindor was presented with his Silver Slugger Award from last season in which he batted .277 with 38 homers and 92 RBIs.
Francona managed his 1,000th game with the Indians and moved into sole possession of fifth place in franchise history with his 562nd win in Cleveland.
Mariners: RHP Mike Leake (2-3, 4.98 ERA) was rocked for nine runs, including five earned, over five innings in a 15-1 loss to Texas on April 27.
Indians: RHP Carlos Carrasco (2-3, 5.86 ERA) has only allowed two earned runs in his first two home starts in 2019, going 1-0 with a 2.00 ERA.
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