SEATTLE (AP) - Just getting back on the Safeco Field mound was an accomplishment for Erik Bedard after nearly two full years away.
Now, if only his performance was better.
The Mariners' polarizing left-hander made his first home start since July 2009 on Sunday, but it wasn't a performance Bedard will remember fondly. He was gone by the fourth inning, and the Mariners were on their way to a seventh straight loss, 6-4 to the Cleveland Indians.
It's been a miserable week for Seattle, which hasn't led at any point. The Mariners were playing from behind again on Sunday after Asdrubal Cabrera's first-inning homer when Bedard made a mistake on a 1-2 pitch.
``Every team goes through stretches. Obviously it's magnified early. We're going through a tough stretch now,' Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. ``Hopefully you find out a lot about yourself when you do go through these stretches. We'll find out more because it is early in the season.'
What the Mariners learned about Bedard on Sunday could be concerning.
He showed signs of progress during spring training and his first start last Monday at Texas provided hope after he went five innings and allowed just three earned runs in his comeback from major shoulder operations that cost him most of the past two seasons, including all of 2010.
Sunday was certainly a step back. Not only was Bedard hit hard, but he made mistakes during favorable counts and failed to crack 90 mph on the stadium radar gun most of the afternoon.
He allowed two homers and three doubles and threw 83 pitches in four innings. The 10 hits off Bedard were his most since he gave up 10 to Minnesota in 2007.
``It's been a year and a half since I've thrown so it might take a little while. I'm working hard and trying to get back as quick as I can,' Bedard said. ``The location is not there 100 percent, but it's getting there. I'm working on it. Hopefully it comes fast.'
If there was optimism for Seattle, it came from an offense that rallied late and scored more than three runs for the first time in four games. Seattle got a two-run homer from Ryan Langerhans and solo shot from Michael Saunders in the seventh to pull within 6-4.
But that was as close as the Mariners could get. Cleveland relievers Rafael Perez, Tony Sipp and Chris Perez shut down Seattle for the second straight night.
Rafael Perez got Ichiro Suzuki to line out to center to end the seventh inning, with Michael Brantley making a good play to keep from trapping the sinking liner. Sipp then pitched a perfect eighth and Chris Perez worked the ninth for his fourth save of the season and 14th straight dating to last August.
``If we had started out 0-6 on the road trip and come here and win two of three there would be reason for optimism,' Langerhans said. ``But we started the road trip well and had a rough go of it here the last week or so. We've got to get it turned around.'
The early runs from the Indians' offense were more than enough for starter Josh Tomlin, who extended his club record of pitching at least five innings in all 14 career starts since he was called up from the minors last July.
Tomlin (2-0) allowed just a pair of singles into the seventh before giving up Langerhans' homer. He went 6 2-3 innings, giving up three hits and three runs, nearly matching his first start this season against Boston when he went seven innings, giving up three hits and one run.
Tomlin struck out four but also walked three batters, helping lead to his high pitch count that eventually got him lifted in the seventh.
``My main goal is to go as deep as I can and give us a chance every time I go out there,' he said. ``If that record, I don't know what it is to be honest with you, if it keeps going then I'm fine with that.'
NOTES: Seattle reliever David Pauley was one bright spot for the Mariners. In relief of Bedard, Pauley threw three perfect innings, striking out three. Seattle's bullpen allowed just one hit in five innings. ... Cleveland is 4-1 against left-handed starters and is batting .333 versus left-handed pitching. ... Saunders has an RBI in his first five games this season, tying a club record.
The Associated Press News Service
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