Sports

Three takeaways from the Mariners’ narrow loss to the Indians

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake throws to a Cleveland Indians batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Mike Leake throws to a Cleveland Indians batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) AP

SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners (13-7) lost their fifth consecutive game in a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night at at T-Mobile Park.

Here are three takeaways from the loss.

1. LEAKE’S OUTING OVERSHADOWED

Mariners starter Mike Leake (2-1, 3.86 ERA) registered his third quality start in four outings this season, but was tagged with his first loss after allowing a pair of runs in the fourth.

Seattle twice converted double plays in the first and third to help Leake through speedy innings, but a missed opportunity for a third double play in the fourth led to a pair of Cleveland runs.

With Jose Ramirez on first, Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon made a brilliant diving stop on a sharp grounder by Jason Kipnis. Gordon flipped the ball to shortstop Tim Beckham to retire Ramirez at second, but, Beckham dropped the ball trying to transfer and throw to first.

“It was a big play,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Dee made an unbelievable back-handed stop. Flips it to Tim, and he just didn’t make the exchange. We get out of that inning with nothing out there if we turn the double play. ... Every out, every double play ball, it’s huge in these tight games.”

Kipnis scored from first on a two-out double to right center by Carlos Santana, and Hanley Ramirez followed with a single that scored Santana to give the Indians a 2-1 advantage they never lost.

“He navigated through that lineup very well,” Mariners catcher Tom Murphy said. “He got creative when he needed to, made his pitches when he needed to, really kept those guys as off-balance as we could.”

“We just didn’t have the results at the end,” Leake said.

Leake worked six innings, allowing two earned runs on eight hits, striking out four and walking none. He tossed a complete six innings for the 55th time in his career, and has matched that effort for more than 20 percent of his starts.

2. MURPHY SETTLING IN

Mariners back-up catcher Tom Murphy finished 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles, and drove in Seattle’s first run in the second inning. He recorded half of the Mariners’ hits in the loss.

After Beckham drew a two-out walk and advanced to third on a wild pitch, Murphy connected on a 1-2 slider, singling to left to notch his second RBI of the season.

He is now hitting .412 (7 of 17) in five games this season since the Mariners acquired him in a trade with the San Francisco Giants at the end of March. He has registered a hit in four of his five appearances.

Murphy also caught former Mariner Leonys Martin stealing for the first out of the fourth inning, before Jose Ramirez and Santana reached and eventually scored.

“Murphy had a great night,” Servais said. “He really did. Swung the bat well, made a nice throw from behind the plate. I thought he did a nice job calling the game.

“He’s really working his tail off. He’s probably one of the hardest workers we’ve got in here. He just wants to get better every day. Everything from his receiving to his throwing to getting the extra work in the cage, and it’s paying off for him. Great to see.”

3. BRUCE CRUSHES ANOTHER

Jay Bruce, who leads the Mariners in home runs this season, crushed another in the eighth inning Tuesday night to keep the club’s historic streak going.

Bruce belted a first-pitch fastball 437 feet to center field with two outs in the inning for Seattle’s major league leading 42nd homer of the season. He also extended the Mariners’ MLB record for consecutive games to start a season with a home run to 20.

Bruce’s eight home runs this season rank second in the American League behind Oakland’s Khris Davis (10).

Though, Bruce’s .175 batting average (11 for 63) is among the lowest of Seattle’s players. The majority of his hits have come from home runs.

“Jay hits homers,” Servais said. “He knows he’s got a good swing going there on certain pitches. He just wants to get more consistent. We’ll certainly take the homers, but I think the consistency is what Jay is looking for right now, too.”

Eleven more Mariners have gone yard this season, including Daniel Vogelbach (six home runs), Edwin Encarnacion (five), Mitch Haniger (five), Beckham (four), Domingo Santana (four), Ryon Healy (three), Omar Narvaez (three), Gordon (one), Dylan Moore (one), Murphy (one) and Mallex Smith (one).

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