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SEA@CLE: Santana goes back-to-back with Cabrera

CLEVELAND -- There would be no makeup of this makeup, so the Indians and Mariners had to make do in the pouring rain at Progressive Field on Monday afternoon.

Maintaining the integrity of the 162-game schedule was the primary intent of this makeup date of a game originally scheduled to take place May 14, back when both of these teams still hoped to contend in their respective divisions. It was played, instead, on a day in which September callups lined the benches and very few fans filled the cold and damp seats.

And as if the elements and the atmosphere weren't dreary enough, the Indians saw an early lead wither in the hands of David Huff, as the Mariners' nine-spot in the third put the Tribe on the path to a 12-6 loss in a rain-shortened, seven-inning tilt.

"It was an ugly day," manager Manny Acta said. "A disappointing loss."

It started out promisingly enough for the Tribe, as Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana went back-to-back with shots to left off Charlie Furbush in the first, giving the Indians a 3-0 lead. It was the 23rd homer of the season for Cabrera, who seems to have recovered from an early September skid, and the 26th for Santana, who set a new club record for switch-hitter homers in a single season.

But it was not a lead safe in the hands of Huff. Rain always seems to be in the forecast on the days Huff takes the mound, but on this day the forecast also called for inconsistent command and some hard hits.

In the second, Alex Liddi, the first Italian-born and raised ballplayer in the bigs, hit his first career homer with a two-run shot off Huff to make it 3-2. After Cabrera's RBI double in the bottom of the inning bought the Tribe some insurance, the Mariners really erupted in the third.

The big inning began with an error by third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, allowing Luis Rodriguez to reach. Mike Carp ripped an RBI line drive to center, and the Mariners were off. Kyle Seager singled home a run with one out to tie it, and Trayvon Robinson drove home a pair with a bases-loaded single to give the Mariners the lead. After Chris Gimenez made the second out, Ichiro Suzuki grounded a double to left to score Liddi and make it 7-4.

So, what happened to Huff? What had been a feel-good return to the bigs earlier this summer has taken a turn for the worse in recent outings, and this one was the worst yet.

"I left some balls up and over the middle and got hit hard," Huff said. "Even when I was down they got some lucky hits, some bloop singles... It was really frustrating. I'm really disappointed in myself."

Huff's disappointment stemmed from what he called "stupid pitch selection" on his part.

"Seeing guys foul balls off to the opposite side," Huff said, "knowing they're late and choosing to go with a curveball and speeding up their bat. When I see that, I need to be smarter and go in on them."

Acta said that Huff simply struggled to put batters away. And this was no day for that.

"He picked a very bad day to have a bad day, with a doubleheader tomorrow," Acta said.

Huff forced Acta to dip into his bullpen in the third, and the results weren't pretty. Just because Huff's day was done didn't mean the Mariners were.

Chad Durbin came on in relief, only to walk Rodriguez to load the bases and let the madness continue. And then Carp hit an absolute blast that landed in the right-field mezzanine -- the area once known as "Pronkville" -- for the grand slam that capped the nine-run eruption that made it 11-4.

"[The big inning] sucked the energy out of us," Acta said.

Furbush went on to strike out six straight between the third and fourth, as the steady rain kept falling. Before this one finally drifted into delay mode and wound up getting called, there would be other signs of life from the Tribe offense. But not many, and certainly not enough to overcome the ails of a pitching staff that was bruised and battered by one of the game's weakest offenses.

As Acta said, it was ugly. Comments