CLEVELAND -- Josh Bard celebrated his daughter's fourth birthday in grand style.
Bard hit his first career grand slam and finished with four hits, powering the Seattle Mariners to a 9-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night."It was super exciting because it's my daughter Hannah's fourth birthday," Bard said. "She told me to hit a home run. I got the ball and will give it to her."Bard fell a triple short of the cycle, lining out to left in the ninth inning."I want every hit, so I wanted that one for sure," Bard said. "If I got a triple, they'd probably have to put me on the disabled list."The 32-year-old catcher has three triples and one stolen base in 550 games for five teams over nine seasons.Jason Vargas (9-5) pitched seven innings for the Mariners and is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA in his last three starts. Seattle improved to 4-1 since interim manager Daren Brown replaced the fired Dan Wakamatsu."Vargas was solid," Brown said. "He pitched well inside and as always, had a good changeup. Nothing flusters him."The Mariners posted consecutive road wins for the first time since June 29-30 at Yankee Stadium.Mitch Talbot (8-10) and reliever Hector Ambriz gave up five runs and made 27 pitches before recording an out in the fifth inning. The Indians dropped to 3-11 at home since July 24."Not a very good ballgame," manager Manny Acta said. "Mitch wasn't as sharp with his command and we didn't play good defense behind him at times either."Russell Branyan gave Seattle a 3-2 lead when he lined Talbot's first pitch of the fifth over the wall in left for his 15th homer and fifth since being traded by Cleveland to the Mariners on June 26 for two minor leaguers.Seattle then loaded the bases on a single by Jose Lopez and consecutive errors by third baseman Andy Marte. Franklin Gutierrez reached when Marte was handcuffed by a hard-hit grounder that got past him. Next, Marte fielded a slow roller hit by Casey Kotchman, but the ball slipped out of his hands as he went to throw it."They opened the game up right there," said Marte, who thought the first ball should have been a hit. "I want to make every play out there and catch every ball I see."Ambriz came on and Bard hit a 1-0 pitch over the wall in right for his third homer, but not his most memorable drive at Progressive Field. That came in his first career game on Aug. 23, 2002, for Cleveland when he beat the Mariners with a game-ending, two-run shot."That seems like a thousand years ago," Bard said.Kotchman's eighth homer, a two-run shot, made it 9-2 in the sixth.Vargas gave up three runs and five hits, walked three and struck out four."I've been able to get into a little rhythm and stay in the strike zone," he said.Ichiro Suzuki got Seattle off to a nice start.Suzuki singled in the first and eventually scored when Branyan grounded into a double play. With the bases loaded in the fourth, he battled back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk on the 11th pitch for a 2-0 lead.Cleveland tied it with a two-out rally in the bottom half. Jayson Nix hit an RBI double. After Matt LaPorta walked, Nix scored on Marte's soft single. Marte then got picked off first by Bard when he strayed too far off the bag."That really killed their momentum," Vargas said. "I was able to get out of the inning. It was a big play."Nix also homered in the sixth, his ninth.Talbot, activated from the disabled list for the start, allowed four earned runs and eight hits in four-plus innings, falling to 0-4 in six starts since his last win June 27 in an interleague game against Cincinnati. He had not pitched since leaving a start against the New York Yankees with a mid-back strain on July 29.
Bard had a career-high five hits for San Diego on Aug. 24, 2007, at Philadelphia. ... Cleveland optioned RHP Jess Todd to Triple-A Columbus. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner, out since July 29 with an inflamed right shoulder, said he feels ready to play after two straight days of batting practice. Cleveland would have to make another roster move to get him activated. ... Seattle OF Milton Bradley will have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Tuesday. Bradley hasn't played since July 26. ... Cleveland signed 10th-round draft pick OF Tyler Holt from Florida State. ... Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera went 2 for 4 and is batting .379 (11 for 29) in his last eight games.