CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 17: Jose Lopez #4 of the Cleveland Indians connects for a three run game tying homerun during the game against the Seattle Mariners at Progressive Field on May 17, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Mariners 6-5. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
Brandon League is ours and you can't have him.
I don't know what it is about the Mariners that brings out the drama. The Indians and Mariners usually only play 2-3 series a season, but those 2-3 series have contained some of most memorable regular-season moments in recent years. You had the Opening Day snowstorm, that led to the Indians playing a home game in Safeco Field later that season. Which also prompted this memorable quote from Ichiro:
"To tell the truth, I'm not excited to go to Cleveland, but we have to," Ichiro said. "If I ever saw myself saying I'm excited going to Cleveland, I'd punch myself in the face, because I'm lying."
Last season, Travis Hafner hit a memorable home run off Brandon League:
And last, but certainly not least, the incredible comeback in 2001.
So it was only fitting that the Mariners' second and final game in Cleveland this season was a dramatic one. The game for six innings looked like a snoozer, with the Indians not having any success against starter Hector Noesi, and with the Mariners' left-handed bullpen ready to go.
The Indians scored a run in the seventh thanks to Asdrubal Cabrera's two-out single, but it only brought the deficit to 4-1, and the Indians were running out of outs. But they struck big in the eighth with two unexpected sources. After Carlos Santana walked to start the inning, Brantley and Damon were retired, bringing up Casey Kotchman. The Tribe first baseman has really struggled this season, but he's been better lately, and his double extended the inning. Jose Lopez made sure that that double wasn't in vain, tomahawking a two-out three-run homer just over the home run porch in left. It was a new game.
The Mariners scored the next run though. Michael Saunders doubled home Brendan Ryan, giving the Mariners a 5-4 lead going into the bottom of the eleventh inning. But all was not lost, for Brandon League was coming in to attempt his third save against the Indians...his third save in nine chances. Jose Lopez walked to begin the inning, then went to second on a wild pitch. The former Mariner scored the tying run on former Mariner Asdrubal Cabrera's single; that single also pushed Jason Kipnis to third with one out. Travis Hafner was due next, but he couldn't hit because he was hit on the hand in his previous at-bat. So Aaron Cunningham hit, and League walked him. That brought up Carlos Santana, who hit a 3-2 pitch into center field for the walk-off winner.