Phoenix – Yusei Kikuchi allowed just three hits over seven shutout innings Saturday but was denied his fourth win of the year after the Seattle Mariners collapsed late in a 5-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Kikuchi gave his club another quality start at Cleveland’s Progressive Field, striking out six and walking three before leaving the mound with Seattle leading the American League clash 4-0.
The left-hander overcame a shaky first two innings and was on track for the win until Rafael Montero blew the save in the bottom of the ninth.
Seattle went ahead in the opening frame when Cleveland starter Triston McKenzie walked in the first run, then took a 3-0 lead in the third from a two-run Jake Fraley home run. Dylan Moore made it 4-0 with a solo homer in the top of the seventh.
Cesar Hernandez put Cleveland on the board with a solo blast against reliever Kendall Graveman in the bottom of the eighth.
Montero was on target for the save with two out in the bottom of the ninth before an RBI pinch-hit single from Bobby Bradley and a two-run double from Rene Rivera allowed Cleveland to tie the game and send it to extra innings.
A fielding error by Seattle pitcher Paul Sewald (2-2) in the 10th saw the home side clinch the unlikely comeback win in a walk-off.
Despite Seattle slumping to a seventh loss from their last 10 games, Kikuchi took positives from his performance.
“I was a little out of control in the first and second innings, but was able to get through seven innings without allowing a run,” said the 29-year-old, who dealt with a sore right knee after being hit by a groundball in his previous start against the Los Angeles Angels.
“It was about how I could bounce back to pitch long innings, and I was pitching thinking these are the games that I can show my value.”
Kikuchi, who has given up two or fewer runs in three of his last four starts, is scheduled to take the mound next week at home against the Tampa Bay Rays.
At Chase Field in Phoenix, Shohei Ohtani extended his hitting streak to four straight games in the Angels’ 8-7 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks in interleague play.
With the action taking place in a National League ballpark without designated hitters, two-way star Ohtani had just one at-bat as a pinch hitter, singling with a line drive in the eighth.
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