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SEATTLE — Asdrubal Cabrera welcomed Erik Bedard back to Safeco Field with a solo homer and the surprising Cleveland Indians beat the Seattle Mariners 6-4 on Sunday for their seventh straight victory.
Cleveland completed an impressive three-game sweep of the struggling Mariners and is off to a 7-2 start for the first time since beginning the 2002 season 8-1.
Cabrera, who had three hits, was only the beginning of Cleveland’s hit parade against Bedard, who was making his first home start for the Mariners since late July 2009. Bedard (0-2) gave up another homer to Jack Hannahan in the fourth, and doubles to Michael Brantley, Lou Marson and Orlando Cabrera. The left-hander lasted just four innings as Seattle dropped its seventh straight.
Indians starter Josh Tomlin (2-0) allowed three hits and three runs in 6 2-3 strong innings.
Seattle eventually chased Tomlin with his pitch count in the low 100s. The big blow was Ryan Langerhans’ second homer of the season — and just the third for the Mariners — a two-run shot that pulled them within 6-3.
Two batters later, and with Chad Durbin on in relief, Michael Saunders hit a solo shot to right, but Rafael Perez got Ichiro Suzuki to line out to center to end the inning with Brantley making a good play to keep from trapping the sinking liner.
That was all Seattle had. Tony Sipp pitched a perfect eighth and Chris Perez worked the ninth for his fourth save of the season and 14th straight dating to last August.
Tomlin nearly matched his first start this season against Boston when he went seven innings, giving up three hits and one run. He’d given up just a pair of singles to the Mariners and a sacrifice fly by Justin Smoak entering the seventh. Tomlin struck out four, but also walked three batters, helping lead to his high pitch count.
Bedard, the polarizing lefty that’s never matched the hype that surrounded his arrival in Seattle, is trying to come back from two shoulder operations that have cost him most of the past two seasons, including all of 2010. He showed signs of progress during spring training and his first start last Monday at Texas provided hope after he went five innings and allowed just three earned runs.
Sunday was certainly a step back. Not only was Bedard hit hard, but he made mistakes during favorable counts and failed to crack 90 mph on the stadium radar gun most of the afternoon.
Bedard’s first mistake was giving Asdrubal Cabrera a hittable 1-2 pitch that he drove out for his second homer of the series in the first inning. Bedard then gave up a two-out RBI double to Shelley Duncan after Shin-Soo Choo reached on a check-swing dribbler that stopped just inches from going foul.
Bedard gave up consecutive two-out doubles to Marson and Brantley in the second, and Asdrubal Cabrera added an RBI single to cap the inning.
Seattle’s defensive troubles also flared up again in the third when a high throw by Suzuki from the outfield allowed Choo to score on Orlando Cabrera’s double.
Bedard gave up 10 hits and struck out six, but was done by the fifth after throwing 83 pitches.
NOTES: Seattle reliever David Pauley was one bright spot for the Mariners. In relief of Bedard, Pauley threw three perfect innings, striking out three. Seattle’s bullpen allowed just one hit in five innings. ... Cleveland is 4-1 against left-handed starters and is batting .333 versus left-handed pitching. ... Saunders has an RBI in his first five games this season, tying a club record.