Playing several backups, Indians rally past M's
Lindor's pinch-hit RBI double, Raburn's two-run shot among key hits
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Mariners southpaw James Paxton continued his push for a starting job as he threw three scoreless innings on Wednesday, but the Indians rallied to pull out an 8-5 victory at Peoria Stadium.
In the ninth, Cleveland's Francisco Lindor broke a 5-5 tie with a pinch-hit RBI double off Seattle righty Danny Farquhar, followed by Carlos Moncrief's RBI triple and Ryan Rohlinger's RBI single.
"I think he's just a good player," Tribe manager Terry Francona said of Lindor. "If we would've played him the whole game, he would've had something to say about the game before that. We tell the kids, 'You can sit here and eat seeds and have a Coke, or you can be ready to play and go in to try to do something.' I think you can see that he's ready to play when he gets in there."
Cleveland designated hitter Ryan Raburn went 2-for-3 and hit a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh as the Indians rallied from a 5-1 deficit. Raburn's second homer of the spring came on the heels of a double by David Adams and triple by Elliot Johnson off Seattle reliever Lucas Luetge.
"He leverages the ball," Francona said of Raburn. "He uses his legs, his hands and when he gets extended, man. And he uses the whole field. You don't see Ray pull too many balls foul like home runs. he stays inside the foul poles and he generates the backspin the other way."
The Mariners are 6-2 in Cactus League play and their starters have allowed just two runs in 18 2/3 innings for a 0.96 ERA.
Paxton, 25, looked very good in four starts as a September callup last season and has picked up where he left off with five shutout innings in two outings this spring. Paxton held the Indians to two hits with no walks and one strikeout while throwing 45 pitches.
"That's more pitches than I'd like to throw in a regular season three innings," Paxton said. "The first inning was a little long for me, but that third helped me a little getting some ground balls and getting out of there fast. Overall, I think it was pretty good."
Cleveland improved to 6-1 with the win while playing a lineup consistently mostly of backups. The Mariners sent 10 batters to the plate in the first, scoring four runs off Indians starter Travis Banwart, including a leadoff home run by center fielder Abraham Almonte.
Banwart lasted just two-thirds of an inning before hitting a 35-pitch limit and being replaced by lefty Nick Hagadone. Banwart, a Triple-A pitcher on a non-roster invitation, gave up a homer, double, single and walk before striking out two with the bases loaded.
Hagadone then replaced him and walked in one run and then allowed a two-run single by shortstop Nick Franklin before finally ending the damage. All four runs in the inning were charged to Banwart, who pitched for Triple-A Sacramento in the A's organization last year.
"We're trying to stretch him out," Francona said of Banwart. "When you start getting up over 30 [pitches] you've got to kind of take care of guys. It's early and you don't want somebody reaching back too far, especially when they're trying to get out of a jam. That's when you end up running into trouble."
Cleveland got on the scoreboard in the fourth against Mariners right-hander Brandon Maurer, with Jeff Francoeur ripping a leadoff double and eventually scoring on a double-play grounder by Matt Carson.
Maurer, making his spring debut after missing a week with a stiff back, threw two innings and gave up the one run on two hits while also hitting two batters.
Up next: With extension talks ongoing with Cleveland, Justin Masterson is scheduled to take the hill as the Tribe's starter for Thursday's 3:05 p.m. ET Cactus League clash with the Cubs at Goodyear Ballpark. Rotation candidates Aaron Harang and Trevor Bauer are also slated to appear for the Indians. Bauer, who is coming back from a subpar season, opened some eyes by hitting as high as 98 mph on the radar gun in his previous appearance. The live radio broadcast of the game will be available for free in an exclusive webcast on indians.com.