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Published: Tuesday, 8/21/2012

Saunders has 3 home runs in 2 games as Mariners ride 6-game win streak

BY PAUL HOYNES
(CLEVELAND) PLAIN DEALER
Cleveland Indians first baseman Casey Kotchman throws to first on a sacrifice bunt by Seattle Mariners' Dustin Ackley in the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday. Cleveland Indians first baseman Casey Kotchman throws to first on a sacrifice bunt by Seattle Mariners' Dustin Ackley in the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday.
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SEATTLE — Michael Saunders hit a pair of two-run home runs to help Seattle beat the Cleveland Indians 5-3 on Monday night for the Mariners' sixth straight victory.

Saunders also hit a two-run homer on Sunday and now has a career high 13 homers.

Eric Thames also had a solo shot for the Mariners in the sixth as well as a triple in the eighth.

The Mariners have won 13 of their last 14 games at Safeco Field. It's the best home stretch over 14 games in club history. They are 23-13 since the All-Star Break.

The Indians have lost six in a row.

Charlie Furbush (5-2) earned the victory in relief of starter Kevin Millwood.

Tom Wilhelmsen worked the ninth and had trouble closing. Casey Kotchman singled with one out and Ezequiel Carrera doubled to right, with Kotchman taking third. Pinch hitter Jack Hannahan loaded the bases with a walk.

Jason Kipnis, who had a pair of RBI, then grounded into a double play. Wilhelmsen picked up his 18th save in 20 opportunities.

Joe Smith (7-4) took the loss in relief of starter Ubaldo Jimenez.

Kipnis started the game for the Indians with a shot off the right field foul pole. It was his 12th home run and first career leadoff homer.

After Saunders' third-inning, two-run home run to center put the Mariners up 2-1, the Indians jumped back ahead with a two-run fifth.

Kotchman walked with one out then Carrera beat out a right-side bunt. With one out, Kipnis singled to left, scoring Kotchman from second. Asdrubal Cabrera then singled to center, scoring Carrera from second for a 3-2 lead.

Thames tied it in the sixth with his two-out, 425-foot blast into the right-center seats. It was his fifth.

This was Saunders' third career two-home-run game.

Notes: Felix Hernandez, who threw the 23rd perfect game in Major League history last Wednesday, was named the American League Player of the Week. He is the first Mariners pitcher to win the award since Joel Pineiro on May 7, 2006. Hernandez starts Tuesday night against Cleveland. ... Mariners Trayvon Robinson had 10 outfield putouts, most in club history for a left-fielder. ... The Indians staff has given up 59 unearned runs this season, second most in the majors. Of those, 21 have come over the past 14 games.



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