SEATTLE -- Oops. Somebody forgot to tell the Seattle Mariners those 116 wins don't mean a thing anymore.
Bartolo Colon blanked baseball's best team during the regular season for eight innings on Tuesday as the Cleveland Indians shut down the Mariners 5-0 in Game 1 of their AL playoff series.
Colon dominated the Mariners, who led the league in batting average, runs and virtually every other offensive category. He gave up six hits, struck out 10 and allowed only one runner to reach third base - and that was on a throwing error.
Last weekend, the Mariners tied the 1906 Chicago Cubs' record for the most wins in a season and came into this series as heavy favorites. And despite a lineup equal to Seattle's at every position and veterans with postseason experience, nobody gave the Indians much of a chance.
"As soon I landed in Seattle, that's all I heard," Indians pitcher Chuck Finley, who will start Game 2, said earlier Tuesday. "But in a five-game series anything can happen."
It already has.
Ellis Burks homered for the Indians, who won a playoff opener for just the third time in 11 series since 1995.
The Mariners didn't look like the same group that ran away from the rest of the league this season.
Rookie sensation Ichiro Suzuki had three hits, but got nailed stealing and left two on in the fifth when his shot to the gap in left-center was caught by Kenny Lofton.
And now, for the first time in 2001, Seattle will have to come from behind or watch an amazing season go down the drain.
Following an off-day Wednesday, the series resumes with Game 2 on Thursday at 4:20 p.m. EDT. Finley, back in the playoffs for the first time since his rookie season in 1986, will start against Jamie Moyer.
Moyer was 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA in two starts against the Indians this season.
Cleveland, sloppy and uninspired in the final week after clinching the AL Central, did everything better than Seattle. They hit in the clutch, played solid defense and most importantly, had Colon on the mound.
He lost twice to the Mariners during the regular season and looked horrible in a tuneup start against Kansas City last week, going just 1 1-3 innings. But he was in control from the outset, working the corners and blowing high heat past the Mariners.
In his previous playoff outing, Colon didn't get out of the second inning in Game 4 of the 1999 division series against Boston.
Bob Wickman pitched the ninth.
The Indians stole a page from the Mariners' how-to-win manual in the fourth, going base to base to score three runs off losing pitcher Freddy Garcia on a leadoff double, a walk and four singles.
Juan Gonzalez, who had 140 RBIs this season but none against the Mariners, drove in Cleveland's first run with a broken-bat single after Roberto Alomar's leadoff double. Jim Thome walked and Burks beat out an infield single to load the bases.
Travis Fryman and Marty Cordova followed with RBI singles to center, and the Indians were on the verge of blowing Seattle out with the bases loaded and none out.
But with Norm Charlton loosening in the bullpen, Garcia struck out Einar Diaz and Kenny Lofton and retired Omar Vizquel on a lazy fly to left, keeping the Mariners within three.
Garcia came back and struck out Alomar, Gonzalez and Thome in the fifth.
But he was done an inning later when the Indians went up 4-0 Diaz's RBI single.
Burks, who batted .136 vs. Seattle this season, opened the eighth with his homer off Jose Paniagua.
The Indians wanted to keep Suzuki off base, but there he was on first after a leadoff single in the first. Colon, though, struck out Mark McLemore and Bret Boone and retired Martinez on a grounder.
Ichiro singled again with one out in the third, but got tagged out in a rundown when the Indians pitched out as he tried to steal.
Notes: A game drew a record crowd of 48,033 at Safeco Field. ... The Mariners were shut out four times during the regular season. ... Players were also required to go through security checks upon entering Safeco. A guard outside Cleveland's clubhouse didn't recognize pitcher Dave Burba, who was first asked his name and then what position he played. "Pitcher," Burba quipped. "Sometimes a thrower." ... Mariners shortstop Carlos Guillen, recently diagnosed with pulmonary tuberculosis, received a warm ovation during pregame introductions. Guillen will not play in the series. ... McLemore robbed Gonzalez of a single in the second with a diving catch in short center.
© 2016. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us