SEATTLE -- Asdrubal Cabrera has never been considered a power hitter. His career high for a season is six home runs.
Barely a week into the 2011 campaign, Cabrera already has three homers and the surging Indians are the surprise leaders of the AL Central.Cabrera welcomed Erik Bedard back to Safeco Field with a solo shot and the Indians beat the Seattle Mariners 6-4 on Sunday for their seventh straight victory.Cleveland completed an impressive three-game sweep of the struggling Mariners and is off to a 7-2 start for the first time since beginning the 2002 season 8-1."We're playing good baseball right now," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "I know it's early. We continue to get good pitching and play good defense and good things are going to happen."Cabrera, who had three hits, was only the beginning of Cleveland's hit parade against Bedard, who was making his first home start for the Mariners since late July 2009. Bedard (0-2) gave up another homer to Jack Hannahan in the fourth, and doubles to Michael Brantley, Lou Marson and Orlando Cabrera. The left-hander lasted just four innings as Seattle dropped its seventh straight.Asdrubal Cabrera missed a large chunk of last season with a broken forearm. During spring training, the infielder made some adjustments in his swing, no longer choking up early in the count, then shortening his swing when he gets two strikes.Either way, he is hitting the ball hard. He homered Friday night on a 2-1 pitch before driving a 1-2 delivery from Bedard just over the hand-operated scoreboard in left two batters into Sunday's game."Just try and hit the ball," Asdrubal Cabrera said. "Swing a little harder."The early runs from the Indians' offense were more than enough for starter Josh Tomlin, who extended his club record of pitching at least five innings in all 14 career starts since he was called up from the minors last July.Tomlin allowed just a pair of singles into the seventh before giving up a two-run homer to Ryan Langerhans. Tomlin went 6 2/3 innings, giving up three hits and three runs, nearly matching his first start this season against Boston when he went seven innings, giving up three hits and one run.Tomlin struck out four, but also walked three batters, helping lead to his high pitch count that eventually got him lifted in the seventh."My main goal is to go as deep as I can and give us a chance every time I go out there," Tomlin said. "If that record, I don't know what it is to be honest with you, if it keeps going then I'm fine with that."Seattle pulled within 6-4 after Langerhans and Michael Saunders homered in the seventh, but the trio of Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp and Chris Perez shut down Seattle for the second straight night.Rafael Perez got Ichiro Suzuki to line out to center to end the inning with Brantley making a good play to keep from trapping the sinking liner. Sipp then pitched a perfect eighth and Chris Perez worked the ninth for his fourth save of the season and 14th straight dating to last August.Bedard's first mistake was giving Asdrubal Cabrera a hittable 1-2 pitch that he drove out, but then followed up by allowing a two-out RBI double to Shelley Duncan after Shin-Soo Choo reached on a check-swing dribbler that stopped just inches from going foul.Bedard gave up consecutive two-out doubles to Marson and Brantley in the second, and Asdrubal Cabrera added an RBI single to cap the inning.Seattle's defensive troubles also flared up again in the third when a high throw by Suzuki from the outfield allowed Choo to score on Orlando Cabrera's double.Bedard gave up 10 hits and struck out six, but was done by the fifth after throwing 83 pitches."It's been a year and a half since I've thrown, so it might take a little while," he said. "I'm working hard and trying to get back as quick as I can."
Seattle reliever David Pauley was one bright spot for the Mariners. In relief of Bedard, Pauley threw three perfect innings, striking out three. Seattle's bullpen allowed just one hit in five innings. ... Cleveland is 4-1 against left-handed starters and is batting .333 versus left-handed pitching. ... Saunders has an RBI in his first five games this season, tying a club record.