They say football is a game of inches, but on Tuesday night, the Indians played a (losing) game of inches of their own. They lost to the visiting Seattle Mariners, 5-2. A few inches here or there and the outcome could have (many fans would say “should have”) been different.
Seattle tagged starting pitcher Trevor Bauer for four runs in the 4th inning and another one in the 5th. The Mariners hit well, amassing 11 hits, including five doubles and a home run by catcher Mike Zunino that hit the railing and bounced into the stands. Under review, the ball was confirmed as a home run.
The Indians managed to get two runs back in the bottom of the 5th on a pair of doubles by Nick Swisher and Chris Dickerson, a single by Yan Gomes, and an RBI ground out by Jason Kipnis. With a total of eight hits in the game, it’s not as though the Indians weren’t hitting the ball. A couple of times, it seemed as though the Baseball Gods were conspiring against them.
Swisher hit a massive fly ball to deep centerfield in the 7th inning that looked so much like a home run your hand automatically started filling in the diamond and writing “HR” on your score card. Mariners’ centerfielder James Jones made a jumping, falling catch against the wall. A few more inches, and Swisher would have made the score 5-3. The next batter, David Murphy, hit a long ball to right field that looked so much like a home run the umpire had to review it. It was a ground rule double. An inch would have made it a home run. The biggest difference between Zunino’s dinger in the 5th and Murphy’s ground rule double in the 7th? As my colleague Chris Burnham said on Twitter: [3rd base umpire] Angel Hernandez
In the bottom of the 8th, the Indians again came within inches of tying the game. Asdrubal Cabrera cranked one to left field that hit the wall a couple feet below the railing. He was held to a long single. Two batters later, red-hot Carlos Santana cranked one to left-center that was caught on the warning track by Dustin Ackley. Not every long ball is destined to be a home run, but it was frustrating to see the Tribe make good contact but continually come up short.