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J.P. Crawford homers, drives in 3 as AL West-leading Mariners stay hot with 8-5 win over Guardians

CLEVELAND (AP) — J.P. Crawford hit a two-run homer, Luke Raley and Dylan Moore added solo shots and the Seattle Mariners stayed baseball's hottest team with an 8-5 win over the AL Central-leading Cleveland Guardians on Tuesday night.

With their fourth straight win and eighth in nine games, the Mariners improved to an MLB-best 17-5 since May 26.

Seattle increased its lead in the AL West to 10 games — the largest in any division. It's the club's biggest advantage since the end of the 2001 season, when the Mariners won 116 games.

“We’re feeling good," said starter Bryce Miller (6-5). "This is how we expected to start the year and we’re starting to put it together. It’s a really good baseball team. We’re going to throw it and whenever we swing it like that, it’s going to be tough to beat us.”

Crawford homered in the third inning off Triston McKenzie (3-4) and added an RBI double in the fourth.

Raley, who grew up in nearby Medina, Ohio, connected in the fifth to put the Mariners ahead 6-1. The homer came only minutes after Raley made a diving catch on the track down the left-field line.

It was an interesting night for Raley, who was ejected after striking out in the ninth.

The 29-year-old had dozens of family members in attendance, including his uncle, Scott Profitt, who actually got his hands on Raley's homer but dropped it.

“He’ll be hearing about that,” said Raley, who was able to get his uncle another souvenir. ”He had a good time. He was laughing about it and being a good sport.”

Mariners manager Scott Servais revealed Raley's father got thrown out of Progressive Field the last time Seattle was in Cleveland.

Raley didn't want to get into any specifics about that incident.

“There’s something about this park," he said with a smile. "It doesn’t like the Raley family.”

Cleveland's Steven Kwan reached base for the 23rd straight game and extended his hitting streak to 12 in a row with a single in the eighth. Kwan is batting .392, but a few plate appearances short of being eligible to lead the majors.

Down 7-1, the Guardians didn't go quietly. They scored two in the sixth, one in the seventh and another in the eighth — helped by Seattle's Trent Thornton hitting two consecutive batters — before Andrés Muñoz worked out of a jam.

Muñoz finished up for his 13th save.

The Guardians have lost three straight for just the second time in 2024.

“We just didn’t get the big hit tonight," manager Stephen Vogt said. "We were close to outhitting them or just about even, but there’s were for extra bases. Ours weren’t. There’s the difference in the game. They cashed in their opportunities and we didn’t.”

McKenzie worked around leadoff walks in the first two innings, but another in the third came back to bite him as the Mariners scored four runs.

After No. 9 hitter Moore walked, Crawford connected for a two-run homer that barely cleared the wall and Guardians rookie center fielder Daniel Schneemann's glove.

Cal Raleigh's RBI double made it 3-0, and after McKenzie issued his fourth walk, Vogt pulled the right-hander. who lasted just 2 1/3 innings — his shortest outing this season.

“After losing the last two games, I wanted to put my best foot forward," McKenzie said. "I didn’t give the guys my best effort, in my opinion.”

TEE TIME

With both teams off Monday, Vogt and Seattle manager Scott Servais went golfing.

The winner?

“Ask him,” Servais cracked.

They were together last season as Vogt served as Seattle's bullpen coach. Servais said it didn't take long for him to recognize Vogt was ready to manage and he's not surprised by Cleveland's strong first half under their rookie skipper.

“They’re a good team,” he said. "They have a lot of speed. They’ve hit a few more homers this year. They’ve got great pitching. They play good defense, They have all the ingredients it takes.”

TRAINER'S ROOM

Guardians: RHP Gavin Williams (elbow) will make his next rehab start at Double-A Akron on Friday. Williams threw 52 pitched in his previous outing for Triple-A Columbus. There's still no clear timetable for his season debut after getting hurt in training camp. ... RHP Shane Bieber (Tommy John surgery) is around for the homestand after getting a routine post-operation checkup.

UP NEXT

Guardians RHP Tanner Bibee (4-2, 3.94 ERA) starts Wednesday against Mariners RHP Bryan Woo (3-0, 1.07), who missed his last start with arm discomfort. Woo underwent an MRI that came back clean. Servais said the Mariners will keep a close eye on Woo.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb

Tom Withers, The Associated Press