CLEVELAND -- Mitch Haniger continued his impressive April with his ninth home run and Mike Zunino added a three-run shot in the ninth inning on Friday, but the Mariners couldn't match the Indians' five homers in a 6-5 loss at Progressive Field.Erasmo Ramirez yielded all five home runs as Seattle
CLEVELAND -- Mitch Haniger continued his impressive April with his ninth home run and Mike Zunino added a three-run shot in the ninth inning on Friday, but the Mariners couldn't match the Indians' five homers in a 6-5 loss at Progressive Field.
Erasmo Ramirez yielded all five home runs as Seattle saw its three-game win streak snapped by Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, who avenged an Opening Day loss to the Mariners by allowing just four hits in 8 2/3 innings.
"The story of the night was Kluber obviously," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He was really good again. We put a little pressure on him. Obviously not enough. Our guys hung in there and a little rally in the ninth to make it interesting. It says a lot about our team. We're never out of it offensively. But tonight, Erasmo made too many mistakes in the middle of the plate, and the home runs certainly hurt us."
The five home runs equaled the Mariners' record for most allowed in a game by one pitcher, a mark Ramirez now shares with Mark Langston (1988), Jamie Moyer (2006) and Jason Vargas (2012). He's the first pitcher to give up five homers to the Indians since Pat Hentgen of the Blue Jays in 1995.
Ramirez, pitching his second game since coming off the disabled list with a strained right lat that sidelined him since early in Spring Training, has allowed seven homers in 9 2/3 innings while his ERA sits at 10.24.
The Indians hit a trio of shots in the first, with Francisco Lindor, Michael Brantley and Edwin Encarnacion doing the damage. Two more blasts -- by Yonder Alonso and Yan Gomes -- in the sixth ended Ramirez's night.
"I was attacking more this time, but these guys don't mess around with the first-pitch strikes," Ramirez said. "They made really good contact with every first pitch I threw. The bad news is everything was way gone and I didn't give myself or my team a chance to play defense at all."
Haniger cut the deficit to 6-2 with his seventh-inning home run, a projected 434-foot blast to center field, according to Statcast™.
"[Kluber] doesn't make very many mistakes," Haniger said. "Finally I got one that third at-bat against him, but the backdoor sinker is a good pitch, and he locates it really well. That one just got out over the plate. He's a Cy Young pitcher, and he's got really good stuff. You spot him with a lead, it's tough. We did a good job battling back, but just fell a little short."
The 27-year-old went 2-for-3, adding a ninth-inning double off closer Cody Allen. He's batting .307 and ranks among the American League leaders with his nine home runs and 26 RBIs.
Zunino followed Haniger's double with his three-run shot off Allen before Ben Gamel lined out to shortstop for the final out.
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After missing the first three weeks of the season with a strained left oblique, Zunino has started heating up over the past three games. His ninth-inning homer off Allen makes him 4-for-12 with a double, two home runs and five RBIs in his past three games after going 2-for-16 in his first five games back.
"Getting better," Zunino said. "I'm sort of feeling through the mechanics a little. When you get thrown back into it, you want to feel some stuff. The first three at-bats today, I wasn't particularly happy with the results, but each at-bat felt better. I'm just working toward things and hopefully a couple at-bats it starts clicking and everything feels good."
Haniger is now 6-for-9 with a home run and double against Kluber, who shut down the rest of the Mariners in improving to 4-1 with a 2.18 ERA.
"I think before today, the past two starts, he probably didn't know me and came right at me, and I got him a couple times," Haniger said. "Today was the first time I did some damage off him. You just have to hope to get a mistake and not miss it. That's the key usually. If you foul off that pitch, you're not going to get another one over the plate. He's just going to paint the corners."
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Center fielder Dee Gordon was taken out of the game in the seventh inning after his left knee gave way as he leaped on the warning track, sending him crashing into the fence on Alonso's homer in the sixth. Gordon hit the wall hard, but remained in the game for the rest of that frame after being checked out by athletic trainer Rob Nodine. Servais chose to take Gordon out the following inning for "precautionary reasons," but said the knee checked out OK postgame, and he doesn't expect the 30-year-old to miss any time. More >
After a pair of rough outings, Mariners right-hander Mike Leake (2-2, 6.59 ERA) will look to get back on track in Saturday's 1:10 p.m. PT matchup with Indians righty Carlos Carrasco (4-0, 2.31). Leake beat the Indians in his season debut with seven innings of two-run ball in Seattle and pitched well in his first three outings, but has allowed 13 runs on 19 hits over 9 1/3 innings against the Astros and White Sox in his last two starts.
Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB