SEATTLE (AP) — Even the postgame pie to the face is improving.
Eric Thames earned his second celebratory shot to the face in the last eight days after his tiebreaking, two-run double with two outs in the eighth inning helped the Seattle Mariners beat the Cleveland Indians, 3-1, Wednesday for their eighth straight win.
For his on-field television interview immediately after the game, Thames was hit again by John Jaso. Wednesday was a whipped-cream pie. Aug. 14, the pie was made of shaving cream — celebrating Thames’ two-out single in the ninth to beat Tampa Bay.
Thames had struck out three consecutive times in each game before delivering the game-winning hit, but was able to keep his focus.
“You get lost in the moment,” Thames said.
The moments are adding up. Kyle Seager started Wednesday’s game with a diving play at third base for an out. Dustin Ackley sprinted back to make a diving over-the shoulder catch in the seventh. Five relievers combined to allow two hits.
It all led to Seattle completing a three-game sweep and being on its longest winning streak since taking eight in a row from June 23 to July 1, 2007. The Mariners have won 15 of their last 16 home games.
“It only takes one swing, one play to be a hero,” Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. “Everybody is doing their part, it’s not just the same guy or same group of guys; we’ve got everybody contributing.”
Cleveland has lost eight in a row, which follows an 11-game skid from July 27 to Aug. 7. The Indians have lost 21 of their last 25 and are 10-29 since the All-Star break. Cleveland has lost 21 of 25 for the first time since Aug. 28 to Sept. 24, 2009, according to STATS LLC.
“It’s never been done in the history of the game where 25 guys are released,” Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. “They should relax. If one guy is going to go, it’s going to be me, not them.”
With the score tied 1-1, Seager hit a drive to right-center off Vinnie Pestano (3-1) with one out in the eighth and stretched the hit into a double.
“The ball got there a little bit before and he put the tag down,” Seager said. “(I) felt like if I tried to alter the slide and get my left hand around there, that would be my best chance.”
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera argued the call by second base umpire Ed Hickox, and Acta came out to dispute it. Acta was then ejected for the second time this season.
“From where I was, I felt he tagged him and the guy was out,” Acta said. “Ed was right. I watched the replay and the guy was safe.”
Jaso was intentionally walked, Jesus Montero struck out and Thames doubled to right.
Stephen Pryor (3-0) pitched two-thirds of an inning of hitless relief, and Tom Wilhelmsen threw a hitless ninth for his 19th save in 21 chances.
Seattle won despite getting outhit 8-5. Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma allowed one run, six hits and three walks in 5 2-3 innings with five strikeouts.
Cleveland’s Zach McAllister gave up one run, three hits and three walks in six innings.
Michael Saunders hit his 14th homer in the first inning to give Seattle the lead. Saunders has four homers in his last four games.
Cleveland tied it in the sixth. Shin-Soo Choo walked with one out and moved up on Carlos Santana’s single. Both runners advanced on a double steal and Choo came home when Casey Kotchman reached on an infield single to third against Oliver Perez.
Ezequiel Carrera’s walk loaded the bases, and Perez struck out Jack Hannahan to end the inning.
Cleveland had runners on base in each of the first four innings, but none made it past second base. The Indians grounded into double plays in the second, third and fourth innings, including a 2-3-6 in the second.
After 95 losses last year, 101 the year before and up-and-down play most of this year, Seattle is having a ball.
“I think that’s the biggest part of it all, the no-stress factor,” Ackley said.
“Nobody’s pressing, everybody’s out there having fun. When you start winning ballgames, it starts to steamroll a bit. That’s what’s going on right now.”
Injured Seattle OF Franklin Gutierrez was in the Seattle clubhouse for a scheduled off day from his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Tacoma. Gutierrez has been on the DL since June 29 because of a concussion. Gutierrez is to rejoin Tacoma on Thursday … McAllister has allowed three earned runs or less in 12 of his 15 outings this season.