Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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Tribe drops 4th straight as Perez falters in 9th


Miguel Olivo slides home safely as Cleveland catcher Lou Marson applies the tag in the ninth inning. Olivo scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Franklin Gutierrez.


CLEVELAND -- Closer Chris Perez didn't give up a hit but was so erratic he turned a tie game into a Cleveland loss.

Franklin Gutierrez lifted a bases-loaded sacrifice fly off Perez in the ninth inning to give the Seattle Mariners a 3-2 win last night over the skidding Indians.

"Tonight, it didn't matter if it was a save or not, it just didn't happen for me," Perez said. "When I come into a game and don't do the job, it is usually going to be a loss."

Cleveland, swept by AL Central-leading Detroit over the weekend, lost its fourth in a row and fell into a second-place tie with the idle Chicago White Sox, 5 1/2 games back. Seattle stopped its five-game losing skid and won for only the fourth time in its last 24 road games.

The Indians have had many dramatic last-inning wins this year. For the second game in a row, they lost on plays at the plate.

Trailing by a run Sunday in Detroit, they had a runner thrown out at home from center field to end the game. This time, Cleveland couldn't quite nail a runner on a nearly exact play.

Perez (2-6) hit Miguel Olivo and Brendan Ryan with pitches to start the ninth. The all-star righty compounded his problems by dropping a sacrifice bunt by Trayvon Robinson, loading the bases with no outs.

"As soon as it popped up, I was thinking third, but it popped out of my glove," Perez said.

Ichiro Suzuki, who led off the game with a home run, struck out. But Gutierrez, formerly of the Indians, hit a fly to medium center field, and Olivo barely beat Ezequiel Carrera's one-hop throw home.

Mariners manager Eric Wedge said third-base coach Jeff Datz's decision to send the slow-footed Olivo was correct.

"We have to do it," Wedge said. "That's the ballgame right there. He was aggressive. It was a good, hard slide, and he got in there."

Carrera's throw bounced chest high, and Olivo slid under catcher Lou Marson's tag to put Seattle ahead.

Chance Ruffin (1-0) worked a perfect eighth for his first major league win. Brandon League pitched the ninth for his 31st save in 35 chances. League got two quick outs before yielding two singles, then got Carrera to ground out.

"Once again, our pitchers gave us a chance to win, but we just could not execute offensively," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "These guys are pumped. They're getting after it. I can't complain about the effort, but you have to get hits with runners on base to win."

Suzuki did without anybody on. He connected off Fausto Carmona for his 35th career leadoff home run. He tied Barry Bonds for sixth all-time, two behind Philadelphia's Jimmy Rollins. Suzuki got three hits in the game.

Marson's throwing error made it 2-0 in the second. Casper Wells was hit by a pitch and went to third on a single by Adam Kennedy. With one out, Kennedy took off for second on a 3-2 pitch to Ryan, who struck out. Marson's low throw had Kennedy beat easily, but skipped past shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, and Wells scored.

Cleveland tied it with two unearned runs in the second off Jason Vargas after a two-out error by Ryan at shortstop. Carlos Santana doubled and took third when Ryan scooped up a grounder by Jack Hannahan, but he threw wildly to first. Marson and Carrera followed with RBI singles.

Ryan played for the first time since Aug. 3. He had been out with a shoulder injury.

Carmona made 50 pitches over the first two innings, but lasted through the sixth. The right-hander allowed one earned run and six hits, walking one and striking out six. With a day-night doubleheader looming Tuesday, the Indians wanted him to help save a bullpen already being worked hard.

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