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Walker pitches 8 strong innings, Smith hits 2-run HR to lead Mariners to 2-1 win over Indians

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SEATTLE — Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona doesn't want one bad pitch to ruin his team's effort in a 2-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.

Even if it did.

Taijuan Walker allowed two hits over eight innings and Seth Smith supported the 22-year-old right-hander with a two-run, sixth-inning home run.

Smith hit a 2-1 pitch from Trevor Bauer (4-2) into the seats in right-center. It scored Nelson Cruz, who had singled.

"It was a cutter. It was a stupid pitch. I shouldn't have thrown it," Bauer said. "Wrong pitch, wrong time. I should have thrown the fastball in. But, you know, it happens."

Bauer still went seven innings, allowing two runs, six hits with three walks and 10 strikeouts. Over his last four starts, Bauer is 2-1 with a 1.53 ERA, limiting opponents to a .183 batting average. He is 0-3 with a 5.09 ERA in three starts against Seattle.

"I think on a lot of nights, you know, we're sitting here saying, 'He gave us seven really good innings' and, you know, patting him on the back," Francona said. "You don't want to lose sight of that. The infield hit, the ground ball hit by Cruz, and then 2-1 with a cutter slider that just was right in the heart of the plate — to the wrong guy.

"But other than that, there was some bend, but not break. He wasn't always efficient, but you look up after seven innings at two runs — we'll take it."

The Indians were held to a season low-matching three hits.

The only other trouble for Bauer came in the fourth when the Mariners staged a two-out threat. After a single by Cruz, Logan Morrison and Mike Zunino walked to load the bases. Bauer then induced Brad Miller to lift a blooper behind second base and shortstop Jose Ramirez caught it over his shoulder.

Smith batted cleanup for the first time this season with Robinson Cano out sick.

"I told him during batting practice he was my secret weapon," Mariners manager Lloyd McClendon said. "They're not going to know what to think when they don't see Nelson Cruz there. He didn't disappoint."

PHOTO: Seattle Mariners' Seth Smith, right, is greeted at home by Nelson Cruz on Smith's two-run home run against the Cleveland Indians during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, May 29, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Seattle Mariners' Seth Smith, right, is greeted at home by Nelson Cruz on Smith's two-run home run against the Cleveland Indians during the sixth inning of a baseball game Friday, May 29, 2015, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

Fernando Rodney had trouble in the ninth, allowing a pinch-hit, run-scoring triple by Ryan Raburn, but still earned his 14th save in 16 opportunities.

"I'm trying to get a base hit. I'm pinch hitting, trying to keep the game going — that's all it is," Raburn said.

The Indians could not solve Walker (2-5), who matched his career high for innings, eight, and strikeouts, eight.

It was the first win for Walker (2-5) since April 27 and one of the strongest of his 18 career starts. He did not walk a batter, did not go to a three-ball count and struck out eight, matching his career high. It was his first victory at Safeco Field.

"We had faced him in the spring. He actually pitched really well, that night game over in Peoria," Francona said. "He came in, not having trouble with his secondary pitches, but tonight's fastball was so dominant. And then he'd mix in an off-speed pitch and because the fastball was so dominant it made those pitches look better."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Mariners: LHP James Paxton was placed on the 15-day DL Friday with a strained tendon in his middle finger. RHP Dominic Leone was called up to replace him. ... RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (strained lat), on the DL since April 24, threw catch from 90 feet Friday with no timetable for a return. LHP Joe Beimel was placed on the restricted list to attend his son's high school graduation. ... LHP Lucas Luetge was called up from Triple-A Tacoma. ... Cano missed the game with flu-like symptoms.

Indians: INF Carlos Santana is on the restricted list to be with his wife Brittany, who gave birth Thursday morning to a girl. He will fly from Cleveland on Saturday night and is expected to be available for Sunday's game.

UP NEXT

Mariners: LHP Roenis Elias (2-1, 2.56) started the season at Triple-A Tacoma but after five starts has become an integral part of the Mariners' injury-riddled rotation. Iwakuma and Paxton are on the DL. Elias has won his past two starts and has not allowed more than three runs in any start.

Indians: RHP Shawn Marcum (1-0, 6.28) will try to rebound from a poor start Monday against Texas. He lasted 2 2-3 innings, allowing seven runs and four hits. He gave up two home runs, had six strikeouts and three walks. He is 1-2 with a 4.00 ERA in five career starts against Seattle.

PEERLESS KIPNIS

Indians 2B Jason Kipnis entered the game hitting .449 in May with 13 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 16 RBIs. From May 9-16, he had a club record-matching 19 hits over seven games and his 49 hits — one Friday — this month are the most for the franchise since at least 1914. "He's in the midst of a really good run here," Francona said. "Right now you're seeing a good player who feels good, and fun to watch. His level when he feels good is pretty damn high."

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