SEATTLE — — José Ramírez was hit by a slider from Andrés Muñoz at a key moment during the first game of Cleveland’s series against the Seattle Mariners.
Given the opportunity to swing at a fastball two days later, Ramírez didn’t miss.
Ramírez came back and sparked an eighth-inning comeback with an RBI double, Zach Plesac earned his first win since early June and the Guardians rallied for a 4-3 victory Saturday night.
Ramírez hit his 26th homer off Seattle shortstop Luis Castillo in the fourth, then hit a 101 mph fastball from Muñoz down the left field line as part of Cleveland’s three-run eighth.
“You can see how much good stuff Munoz has because (Ramirez) doesn’t hit the ball down the left field line that often,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “That’s a pretty impressive attitude for us because that kid is really, really good.”
How impressive? Seattle was 51-0 this season when leading after seven. It was the Mariners’ first loss going into the eighth since September 7, 2021.
“They put the bat on the ball. They found some holes and they made a row together. It happens once in a while,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “I thought Andre’s stuff was OK. You’ve got to give them credit there.”
The big game started with a walk on the single by Steven Kwan and Amed Rosario. Josh Naylor’s RBI groundout and Andrés Giménez’s sacrifice capped the outburst for the AL Central leaders, who remained three games ahead of second-place Minnesota.
Cleveland had scored four runs in the first 27 innings of the four-game series, then scored three runs against one of the best pitchers in the American League.
Muñoz (2-5) struck out Ramírez in the eighth inning of Seattle’s 3-1 win on Thursday. The right-hander had not allowed a run in his previous 10 appearances.
“I feel like as a pitcher when they face me, it’s not necessarily a pitch that they stick to in particular. They feel like they’re trying to play with my mind, get into my mind,” Ramirez said through a translator.
The rally gave Plesac (3-11) its first win since June 5. The right-hander lost his previous seven decisions but limited the Mariners to three hits over a season-high seven innings and struck out six.
“He competed like crazy and when you look back and if he didn’t, we wouldn’t have had a chance,” Francona said.
One issue for Plesac was that all three hits he gave up went out of bounds. Eugenio Suarez homered in the second inning for his 24th of the season and rookie Julio Rodríguez hit a home run in the third for his 21st.
Jake Lamb, who took over at first base after Ty France went down, hit his first homer since being traded to his hometown team with a two-out shot in the seventh.
But that was all Seattle could manage. It was the sixth time in major league history that a team had three solo homers to account for all of its hits. The Mariners were the first team since at least 1901 to have three home runs but no other baserunners.
For Rodríguez, it was his first long ball since signing a massive contract that guarantees him $209.3 million and could be worth as much as $470 million over the life of the deal.
James Karinchak had the eighth goal and Emmanuel Clase had the ninth for his 30th save.
“We entered well. Those guys capitalized on the mistakes I made and guys came up with the bats late tonight,” Plesac said.
Castillo was dominant for six innings and only a high pitch count ended his night early.
The right-hander allowed a pair of singles to Kwan, a long ball by Ramírez and a single by Naylor. Castillo finished with 10 hits, getting at least one in every inning and hitting a home run in the third. His biggest hit was hitting Rosario with runners on first and third to end the fifth.
IT WAS SENT
France was pulled by plate umpire Lance Barrett in the middle of the fifth inning. France had been called on to attack to end the fourth on a boundary pitch and there were words for Barrett. After the top of the fifth, France apparently had more to say about Barrett and jumped.
It was the second straight day Seattle had an ejection, as Jesse Winker and Servais were ejected on Friday.
Mariners: INF/OF Sam Haggerty was able to take a hit in the batting cage before the game and was available off the bench a day after a hard attempt hit his knuckles.
Custodians: RHP Aaron Civale (2-5, 5.37 ERA) hasn’t won since May 20 and hasn’t taken a decision in any of his last five starts. Civale allowed one run over 4 2/3 innings in his last start against San Diego.
Mariners: LHP Robbie Ray (10-8, 3.75) looks to continue his stellar performance in August. Ray has allowed six earned runs and struck out 34 in 26 innings over four starts this month. He has won his last two starts.