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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, April 19, 2012 2:35 am

Lowe walks six, Indians lose to Mariners 4-1

The Associated Press

Cleveland starter Derek Lowe marveled at his strange outing.

He walked six batters, gave up two home runs and six hits in all - and only allowed four runs in Cleveland's 4-1 loss to Seattle on Wednesday night.

He actually overstated it a bit, crediting the Mariners with only two runs. But he still got off easy for allowing 12 baserunners in 4 1-3 innings.

"The start wasn't the best, but it's still hard to do - give up six hits on top of the two home runs and six walks, and they only scored two runs," Lowe said. "Try that! It's not easy."

The six walks were one short of a career high for Lowe.

"I think a guy had a remote out in right, but we caught him," Lowe said. "He had a button he was pressing, moving the plate around."

It was clear someone other than Lowe was in control.

Chone Figgins led the game off with a homer and Ichiro homered two batters later to supplement starter Jason Vargas' seven stout innings during Seattle's 4-1 win Wednesday night over the Cleveland Indians before the smallest crowd in the history of Safeco Field.

Lowe's rough night ended in the fifth following a single by Miguel Olivo that put runners on first and third with one out. Lowe threw 4 ? innings, allowed two home runs, four earned runs and walked six, just one short of his career-high. It was his shortest outing of the young season. Lowe (2-1) took the loss for Cleveland (5-5).

Just 11,343 watched the game, setting a new record-low at Safeco Field, which was built in 1999. The previous record-low attendance was 11,701 against Baltimore on May 31, 2011.

Those few watched Figgins turn an eight-pitch at-bat into his eighth career leadoff home run and first of the season. It was Figgins' first home run since April 1, 2011, when he homered on Opening Day.

The last time Figgins hit a leadoff home run was July 18, 2009, when he was with the Anaheim Angels.

Ichiro followed two batters later with his first home run of the year when he hit a drive to right-center field. It was his first home run batting third after hitting 94 batting leadoff, and one batting second, leaving him four shy of 100 career homers.

"It was a lot of non-competitive pitches," Lowe said. "I was trying a lot of pitches. I think I was on plan "G" by the time I got taken out of the game."

Meanwhile, Vargas zipped along. He struck out four consecutive batters, starting at the end of the third and extending through the fourth. It was part of seven consecutive retired by the left-hander.

Vargas teetered in the sixth when he loaded the bases after walking designated hitter Travis Hafner. But, he struck out Shelley Duncan with a changeup and got a groundout to shortstop from Jose Lopez.

"We felt that was our opportunity, especially with Shelley up," Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. "He hits against lefties so well, but he missed a pitch there."

Vargas came back to throw a 1-2-3 seventh inning to finish a solid effort during which he allowed just four hits and a run. He struck out seven and walked three.

"I was able to locate my fastball early in the game and kind of put them on the defensive," Vargas said.

The Mariners tacked on a run in the bottom of the second when Jesus Montero walked on four pitches, pushing Brendan Ryan across the plate. But Lowe was able to get Kyle Seager to fly out to left field with the bases loaded to avoid further damage.

Cleveland shortstop Jason Donald bunted Aaron Cunningham to third after Cunningham doubled to open the third inning. Jason Kipnis' sacrifice fly to center field drove Cunningham in for Cleveland's run.

Dustin Ackley scored Ryan with a single to center to expand the Mariners' lead to 4-1. Lowe staved off a bigger inning by getting Montero to ground into a double play.

Jairo Asencio replaced Lowe and held off the Mariners in the fifth by getting Munenori Kawasaki to pop out and Ryan to ground out on a close play at first.

Seattle closer Brandon League pitched the bottom of the ninth for his fifth straight save.

NOTES: Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez was suspended five games Wednesday for throwing at Kansas City's Mike Moustakas last weekend. Gomez will appeal and make his normal turn in the rotation Saturday at Oakland. . Manager Manny Acta and third baseman Jack Hannahan were also fined. . Mariners third baseman Kyle Seager came into Wednesday 14 for 22 (.636) against Cleveland in his career. . Tuesday night's rally from seven down was Cleveland's largest comeback since an 11-10 win May 25, 2009 vs. Tampa Bay when the Indians entered the bottom of the fourth trailing 10-0. . Mariners catcher Adam Moore tore the medial meniscus in his right knee while playing for Triple-A Tacoma. He will have surgery Thursday. ... The plate umpire was Angel Campos