Carmona wins for first time in more than three months as Mariners fall

CLEVELAND -- Fausto Carmona's playful smile was back after three agonizing months.

Carmona pitched seven innings for his first win since May 14 and the Cleveland Indians beat Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners 6-1 Sunday.

Carmona (3-8) gave up Ken Griffey Jr.'s 624th career homer, but otherwise was in command in his first win in nine starts since beating Tampa Bay. He allowed five hits, walked one and had a season-high eight strikeouts.

"It feels great," said Carmona, who jokingly turned up the music in his locker and pretended not to hear the first questions from a reporter. "It has been a long time. It was my best game this year. I got ahead of hitters, was aggressive and walked only one."

A 19-game winner in 2007, Carmona's control abandoned him in 2008 as he went 8-7 with a 5.44 ERA and 12 more walks than strikeouts. He opened this season with a 2-6 record and 7.42 ERA and was sent to the minors on June 5. In five starts since he was recalled July 31, he is 1-2 with a 2.79 ERA.

"Fausto's stuff has always been good, but he's doing a better job of monitoring himself," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He controls his emotions. He was more of a thrower two years ago. Now, he's more efficient."

Carmona said striking out Griffey on a 3-2 changeup in the sixth and fanning Rob Johnson in a 12-pitch at-bat that ended the seventh were key.

"I would never throw a changeup to Griffey before," Carmona said. "I worked on that pitch in the minors and have confidence in it. On that last batter, I knew it was important to not give in and get him out."

Hernandez (12-5) entered with an 11-3 record in 16 starts following a Seattle loss, but was hit hard as the Mariners finished a six-game trip to Detroit and Cleveland with a 2-4 record. Seattle has lost seven of 10 overall.

The Indians scored four times in the sixth to take a 6-1 lead, taking advantage of a one-out error by second baseman Jose Lopez. Luis Valbuena, whose two-out homer in the 11th inning gave Cleveland a 4-3 win Saturday, singled in a run. Matt LaPorta followed with an RBI double, Wyatt Toregas added a sacrifice fly and Andy Marte had a run-scoring single.

"Felix had given up two runs at that point," Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu said. "I think he lost a little focus."

Hernandez allowed six runs, three earned, and nine hits in six innings, losing to the Indians for the first time since July 28, 2006. The right-hander is 0-1 in his last four starts since beating Texas on Aug. 1.

"I didn't think about the error," Hernandez said. "You just have to make a pitch to get a double play. I couldn't throw my two-seamer that inning. I couldn't execute my pitches."

The Mariners got a scare in the first when left fielder Ryan Langerhans crashed into the wall trying to catch Grady Sizemore's leadoff triple. Langerhans dove along the warning track and gloved the slicing drive, but the ball popped out in the collision. Langerhans then crawled over and threw the ball toward the infield as he was writhing in pain on the ground.

Wakamatsu and trainer Rick Griffin went out to attend to Langerhans, who stayed in the game. After two groundouts, Jhonny Peralta singled to left to give Cleveland the lead.

Griffey tied it in the fourth with a drive to center, his 13th of the season. But Peralta hit his 10th homer leading off the bottom half.

"It was a changeup," Hernandez said of Peralta's drive to left. "I knew it was gone. I was kind of mad."

Game notes
Mariners 1B Russell Branyan went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts after homering in three straight games. Branyan has fanned in a career-high 15 straight games. ... Sizemore went 2 for 4 against Hernandez and is 9 for 18 in his career against him. ... Griffey has 24 homers in Cleveland, 11 at old Cleveland Stadium. ... Mariners OF Ichiro Suzuki, who had a 12-game hitting streak snapped Saturday, went 1 for 4 and hasn't gone hitless in consecutive games since Aug. 13-15, 2008. His current 157-game streak is the longest since Hall of Famer Stan Musial went 174 games in 1943-44. Suzuki needs 11 hits for 2,000 in his career. ... Mariners 3B Adrian Beltre likely won't return from the disabled list Friday, the day he's eligible to be activated. Beltre suffered a severely bruised right testicle when he was hit by a ground ball on Wednesday.