Sparks High Grad Messenger Gives Up Walk-Off Homer In '09 Debut

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

CLEVELAND -- Luis Valbuena homered with two out in the 11th inning to give the Cleveland Indians a 4-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night.

Valbuena lined a 2-0 pitch from right-hander Randy Messenger (0-1) over the right-field wall for his seventh homer to cap Cleveland's comeback. The Indians trailed 3-0 after one inning.

Messenger, who has pitched parts of five seasons in the majors, had his contract purchased from Triple-A Tacoma earlier in the day when the Mariners optioned out Chris Jakubauskas.

Rafael Perez (2-2) got one out to record the win, Cleveland's fourth in 10 games.

Four Seattle pitchers held the Indians hitless over 6 2/3 innings until Valbuena connected.

Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 0 for 5 with a walk, ending his 12-game hitting streak and keeping him 12 hits short of 2,000 for his career. The nine-time All-Star popped out on a 3-0 pitch in his final at-bat in the 11th.

Suzuki needs 17 hits for his ninth consecutive 200-hit season, which would break the career record he shares with Hall of Famer Willie Keeler.

Cleveland chipped away at Seattle's lead with single runs in the third, fourth and seventh, scoring the tying run without a hit.

Valbuena reached second leading off the seventh when left fielder Michael Saunders dropped his fly ball for an error. Kelly Shoppach then squared to bunt as Mariners starter Doug Fister threw a fastball high and inside, hitting the Indians' catcher on the hand.

After both runners advanced on a check-swing groundout by Matt LaPorta, Mark Lowe relieved Fister and Andy Marte hit a sacrifice fly to center to tie it at 3.

Indians starter Aaron Laffey allowed three runs in the first, then settled down nicely. The left-hander gave up eight hits and three runs over seven innings.

Russell Branyan's two-run homer, a long shot to right-center, capped Seattle's big first inning. The first run scored when right fielder Shin-Soo Choo was charged with an error after his throw skipped past third baseman Jhonny Peralta. Branyan followed with his 30th homer, on a 3-2 pitch.

LaPorta scored when Asdrubal Cabrera grounded into a double play in the third and Travis Hafner hit his 12th homer in the fourth to get Cleveland within one. It was the Indians' first homer at Progressive Field since Aug. 2, a span of 11 games, two short of the team record for longest homer drought in home games set in 1991 at old Cleveland Stadium.

Fister gave up two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings in his third career start.

Game notes
Seattle RHP Carlos Silva threw a 65-pitch bullpen session. He is scheduled to throw again next week, then begin a minor league rehab assignment. Silva has been out since May 7 with a sore shoulder. ... Laffey is 9-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 14 games, 13 starts, in Cleveland since May 2008. ... Indians RHP Chris Perez worked a scoreless eighth. He has not allowed a run in his last 14 outings, covering 14 1/3 innings since July 7. He has given up only five hits and struck out 17 over that span. ... Shoppach was hit twice with pitches and has been plunked an AL-leading 18 times.


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