CLEVELAND -- Jarrod Washburn wasn't all that impressed with his performance Saturday night. His pitching line would suggest otherwise. The left-hander won his third successive start and fourth in his past five outings, allowing one run in 6 2/3 innings in the Mariners' 3-1 win over the Indians at Progressive Field.
"I wasn't sharp at all," Washburn said. "I don't know how many spots I hit. Not very many." Washburn, who took a shutout into the seventh, has been hitting enough spots lately to be one of the hottest starting pitchers in baseball. He has allowed two runs in his past 23 2/3 innings. Washburn gave up eight hits, struck out three and didn't walk a batter Saturday. "There were some good defensive plays behind me and we scored a few runs," he said. "It worked. We won." While Washburn was reluctant to praise himself, Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu was more than happy to do so. "We don't give him enough credit," Wakamatsu said. "He's been out there every fifth day, even though his foot has been bothering him. That's the sign of a championship pitcher." Washburn gave a big assist to center fielder Franklin Gutierrez, who continued to excel against the team that traded him in the offseason. He homered for the second successive game, hitting a two-run shot in the fourth, and also flashed some leather by running down Asdrubal Cabrera's drive to the wall in center in the first. "I told him after the first inning, 'I'm going to make you a star,'" Washburn said. "It seems like every time I pitch, he makes an awesome play." Gutierrez, acquired from the Indians in a three-team trade in December, hammered a 1-0 pitch from Tomo Ohka to right-center for his 12th homer of the season and second in as many nights. He homered off David Huff to nearly the same spot Friday night. "He keeps proving what kind of player he is and the kind of player he's going to be," Wakamatsu said. Gutierrez is downplaying any revenge factor against his former team. "The Indians gave me a chance to play in the big leagues," he said. "I'm playing center field every day here. I feel comfortable and I'm having fun." The Indians' only run came on Jamey Carroll's two-out single in the seventh that scored Victor Martinez. It appeared Gutierrez's throw from center field was in time as catcher Rob Johnson had the plate blocked, but home-plate umpire Dana DeMuth called Martinez safe, leading to a brief protest from Wakamatsu. "I thought I had him," Johnson said. "It's a close play." Washburn, unhappy with his pitch selection to Carroll and the call at home, was removed from the game as Wakamatsu called on right-hander Sean White to face Ben Francisco. "It was probably for the best," Washburn said. "I was second-guessing the pitch I threw, and I thought he was out. It doesn't matter. We won the game." White ended the inning by getting Francisco to hit into a force play and then pitched a scoreless eighth. David Aardsma pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 23 chances. Russell Branyan added a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Ichiro Suzuki's 13-game hitting streak came to an end. He was 0-for-2 with a sacrifice and a walk. Second baseman Jose Lopez left the game in the ninth inning with tightness in his right shoulder.
Steve Herrick is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.