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Kelenic announces arrival as Mariners top Indians 7-3

SEATTLE — At two minor league levels, the first hit for prized Seattle prospect Jarred Kelenic was a home run.

Same start in the majors.

Kelenic made his first career hit extra memorable with a two-run homer and later added a pair of doubles, leading the Mariners to a 7-3 win over the Cleveland Indians on Friday night.

After going hitless in his big league debut Thursday night, Kelenic brought the Seattle crowd to its feet with a long ball in the third inning. He stayed with an off-speed pitch from Aaron Civale, but still had the power to drive it 403 feet out to right-center field.

The ball was clocked at 109.3 mph off the bat and Kelenic’s sprint around the bases seemed just as fast. He embraced fellow young Seattle star Kyle Lewis in the dugout with a bearhug and tipped his cap to the fans when their standing ovation didn’t stop.

“I didn’t even know that that’s what they wanted, until people were like, ‘Get out there.’ I didn’t know what was going on until I realized that everyone was standing up,” Kelenic said. “But that’s something I’ve always imagined.”

The 21-year-old Kelenic became the youngest Mariners player to homer since Adam Jones in 2006 and joined Lewis in hitting a home run for their first major league hits. Lewis did it in September 2019.

Kelenic also homered for his first hits at Class A Modesto in 2019 and with Triple-A Tacoma earlier this month.

“A lot to get excited about. Big night for him tonight and his family and our team quite frankly,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “It’s loud in here, guys are excited, they know what he can bring and he’s going to continue to have fun, that’s for sure.”

Kelenic added a pair of hustling doubles in the fifth and seventh, the second scoring Sam Haggerty to give Seattle a 5-1 lead. Mitch Haniger followed with a two-run homer off reliever Phil Maton, his 11th of the season, to cap the four-run inning for Seattle.

“I’m a competitor. I want to win. I want to bury our opponents, each and every night,” Kelenic said. “It really bugs me when I give away at-bats or if I don’t execute on what I’m trying to do.”

Kyle Seager also homered in the first off Civale, his eighth of the season.

Civale (5-1) allowed a season-high five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. He gave up seven hits and struck out six.

“He made a couple mistakes,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “He threw Seager a cutter that caught way too much of the plate. … (Kelenic) made some adjustments. I mean, tip your hat to him. He’s a pretty strong kid and he got extension and did some damage.”

Seattle starter Chris Flexen allowed just one run in 5 2/3 innings and won his third straight decision. The only run Cleveland managed off Flexen (4-1) was Jordan Luplow’s RBI single in the fifth.

Flexen permitted five hits and failed to record a strikeout for the second time in three starts. He is the first Seattle pitcher since Mike Leake in 2018 to win a start without a strikeout.

Josh Naylor hit a two-run homer in the ninth for Cleveland. Rafael Montero got the final out for his fifth save.

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