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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, April 18th (All times Eastern)

Cleveland Indians (5-4) at Seattle Mariners (6-6), 10:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: Cleveland - Derek Lowe (2-0, 1.98) Seattle - Jason Vargas (1-1, 3.44)

(Sports Network) - Derek Lowe eyes his third straight win this evening when the Cleveland Indians continue a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

After tossing seven scoreless innings to win his debut, Lowe picked up another victory on Friday in Kansas City, as he gave up three runs and 11 hits in 6 2/3 frames.

Tonight's outing marks only the second time since 2004 that Lowe will pitching against the team for which he debuted in 1997. Lowe picked up a victory in Safeco last season with the Braves during interleague play, tossing six innings of one-run ball. He is 6-4 lifetime against the Mariners with a 3.15 ERA in 21 games (seven starts).

Seattle, meanwhile, will counter with lefty Jason Vargas, who is 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA. Vargas absorbed the loss on Thursday in Texas, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings.

Vargas has faced the Indians four times, posting a 1-2 mark to go along with a 6.75 ERA.

In Tuesday's opener, the Indians rallied from seven down to pull out a 9-8 win.

After Carlos Santana's three-run home run highlighted a seven-run fifth inning to even the game for the Tribe, Cleveland went ahead for good in the eighth when Jason Donald's RBI single scored Travis Hafner.

The Indians have now homered in each of their first nine games, which is the longest such streak since a nine-game run in 2006. Cleveland also hit a home run in nine consecutive games to open the 1997 season. The franchise record of season-opening homer streaks is 14 set in 2002.

The Cleveland bullpen kept the Indians in the game, allowing just three hits over 5 1/3 scoreless innings of relief work, despite a shaky bottom of the ninth from Chris Perez, who loaded the bases before nailing down his third save of the year.

Shin-Soo Choo and Donald tallied two hits and knocked in two runs apiece and Rafael Perez (1-0) pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth to earn the win for the Indians, who are 4-0 on the road for the second straight year.

The Indians haven't won their first five road games since opening 6-0 in 1998.

Neither starting pitcher tossed more than four innings as Cleveland's Justin Masterson was shelled for eight runs on seven hits and four walks over 3 2/3 innings and Seattle's Kevin Millwood surrendered seven runs -- six earned -- on nine hits over four innings.

"I thought it was a great comeback, obviously. Masterson struggled with his command and put us in a deep hole, but it's a team effort," said Cleveland manager Manny Acta. "These guys came out swinging and just never gave up."

Justin Smoak had a career-high four hits while John Jaso smacked a two-run shot and knocked in three runs overall. Ichiro Suzuki also knocked in two in the loss.

"He's one of the best I've seen in regard to controlling damage, but today he just wasn't able to get through it," Seattle manager Eric Wedge remarked about Millwood. "I thought he was throwing the ball the three previous innings, but he was just up a bit, missing some spots that last inning and just wasn't able to get it done."

Cleveland won five of its nine meetings with the Mariners last season.

04/18 10:47:49 ET

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