Taijuan Walker has been at his best against the Cleveland Indians.
Walker kept up his run of dominance against the Indians, allowing just an unearned run over six innings in the Seattle Mariners’ 2-1 win on Wednesday night.
Walker (1-0) held Cleveland to three hits and struck out six in defeating the Indians for the third time in a year. The right-hander beat Cleveland twice last season and has allowed one earned run in 20 innings over three appearances.
“It seemed like they were being really aggressive and then once they start being aggressive, I can really use my off-speed pitches and keep them off-balance and kind of pitch them backwards a little bit,” Walker said.
Norichika Aoki had a two-run triple in the second, which Walker and three relievers made stand up.
Jason Kipnis’ sacrifice fly in the third scored Cleveland’s run, which was unearned thanks to first baseman Adam Lind’s fielding error.
Walker, who threw 110 pitches, was pulled for Joel Peralta after the sixth despite his best efforts to avoid manager Scott Servais in the dugout.
“I was trying to hide,” Walker said. “I’m always trying to get as many (innings) as I can.”
“Sometimes you just let it rip and he certainly was letting it go tonight,” Servais said. “It’s impressive. He has the ability to make adjustments and manipulate the ball a little bit when he needs to and get it in the strike zone, in a good spot in the strike zone.”
Danny Salazar (2-1) allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings, but his mistake to Aoki cost him the game.
Salazar struck out seven and didn’t give up a hit after Aoki’s triple. The right-hander retired 11 straight and 16 of the final 18 he faced. Salazar has a 1.47 ERA in three starts.
Steve Cishek, the Mariners’ third reliever, pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.
Lind singled and Chris Iannetta walked to start the second. Salazar retired the next two batters, but Aoki sent a hard grounder past first baseman Mike Napoli that rolled into the corner to score both runners.
Cleveland’s only threat came in the third. Juan Uribe led off with a double but was caught in a rundown and tagged out trying for third on Tyler Naquin’s ground ball to the mound.
Naquin took third when Lind was charged with an error after he couldn’t handle Jose Ramirez’s ground ball near the bag at first. Kipnis’ flyball to center scored Naquin.
Aoki’s triple over the first base bag was enough for the Mariners to win despite scoring three runs or fewer for the 10th time in 14 games. Seattle is 2-5 in one-run games.
“We needed one and we got one,” Servais said of the clutch hit. “It was huge. We were due for one, a big two-out hit.”
Walker had no walks but did hit a batter. He had no-decisions in his first two starts, pitching six innings in each.
Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall was 0 for 3 in his season debut after being activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game. Chisenhall hurt his left wrist in spring training.
Indians: OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery) is scheduled to play Friday and Saturday on rehab at Triple-A Columbus. He’ll be evaluated by the team’s medical staff Sunday.
Mariners: RHP Nathan Karns beat the Yankees on Friday for his first win of the season, allowing a run with seven strikeouts in five innings. He’s 1-1 in two career starts against Cleveland, both with Tampa Bay.
Indians: RHP Cody Anderson allowed a career-high three home runs in 4 2/3 innings Friday in a defeat to the Mets for his first loss since Aug. 1.