CLEVELAND (AP) — The Mariners were masters of the one-run win the past two seasons. They finally got back in that mode on Saturday.
Eugenio Suárez drove in two runs, Marco Gonzalez had a strong start and Seattle got to Cal Quantrill early before handing Cleveland’s starter his first home loss since 2019 with a 3-2 win over the Guardians on Saturday night.
The Mariners led the majors with 32 one-run wins in 2022 after winning 33 of those tight contests the previous year. After their first one this season, manager Scott Servais smiled when reminded of his team’s one-run habit.
“They’re not easy,” he said. “You could kind of see where that game was headed.”
Suárez hit RBI singles in the first and second innings off Quantrill (0-1), who came in 14-0 in 34 regular-season starts at Progressive Field. The right-hander hadn’t lost a home start since Sept. 9, 2019, when he was with San Diego — a span of 36 starts.
Quantrill was quick to point out that his home streak officially ended last season with a loss in Game 4 of the AL Division Series to New York.
“Does that matter?” Quantrill said when asked about his home success. “Came to the end in the playoffs last year.”
Gonzales (1-0) allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings, and Seattle’s bullpen came through again as the Mariners won their sixth straight in Cleveland. The Mariners’ relievers combined for five scoreless innings in Friday’s win.
“Vintage Marco,” Servais said. “He kept them off balance with a good change-up and curve ball. It was exactly what we needed. We were a little light in the bullpen tonight, we’ve been using guys and running them hard.”
Gabe Speier pitched out of jams in the seventh and eighth before Paul Sewald came on in the ninth and put two on before getting his second save in two days.
It was a nice bounce back by Gonzalez, who got a no-decision in his season debut last week against Cleveland.
While the style of win looked familiar, the left-hander said these Mariners want to make their own mark.
“We’re a new team. We’re not looking back,” said Gonzalez, who improved to 3-0 against Cleveland. “We’re trying to create our own path and find our own identity ourselves. That’s just part of what we do well.
“When we’re clicking on all cylinders, I think we’re one of the best teams in the league.”
Seattle’s hitters wasted no time in jumping on Quantrill, scoring two runs in the first inning off the right-hander, who needed 35 pitches to get three outs but avoided more extensive damage by leaving the bases loaded.
“The first inning was a struggle,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “Thankfully he got out of it with the two because it looked, I mean pitch count was up and man, that’s the last thing you want to do. But he competed and he went out.
“Next thing he got two quick outs and then gave up a run. But after that, I mean just those three held up.”
Rodríguez is one of just three players in history to hit 30 homers and steal 20 bases in his first 140 career games.
The others to do it: Darryl Strawberry and Fernando Tatis Jr.
Shane Bieber had a bad feeling about Travis Kelce’s ceremonial first pitch before it was even thrown.
As Bieber took the field before Friday’s home opener to catch Kelce, the Super Bowl-winning tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland’s ace warned Slider, the team’s furry mascot, that they could be targets.
“I told him, ‘Slider, if he spikes it, I’m going to try and pick it, but I need you to body up in front of me,’” Bieber said Saturday.
That’s what happened as Kelce fired his pitch into the grass with the hard one-hopper whizzing past a startled Bieber, who was still chuckling about it a day later.
“I wish I would have put a glove on it for the boys,” said Bieber, who won a Gold Glove last season. “I looked around for Slider. He bailed.”
Guardians: The team is hoping for a positive report on starting RHP Triston McKenzie, who will be reevaluated Sunday. McKenzie has been sidelined with a strained teres major (shoulder) muscle, and it’s possible he could be out two months. “By his account he’s doing good,” manager Terry Francona said, “which is probably the biggest thing of all.” McKenzie went 11-11 with a 2.96 ERA in 30 starts last season.
Mariners RHP George Kirby (0-1) starts the series finale against Guardians RHP Zach Plesac (0-0), who lasted just one inning in his season debut last week.