SEATTLE -- When C.C. Sabathia pitches with power and precision, the highest-scoring offense in the major leagues doesn't need very many hits to win.
The bulky left-hander, forced out of the season opener by a strained oblique muscle, beat the Chicago White Sox 7-1 Tuesday in his first game back. Against Seattle, his fastball reached 97 mph on the ballpark's radar gun, but his efficiency was equally impressive.
Sabathia (2-0) struck out four and walked none, throwing 75 of his 105 pitches to catcher Victor Martinez for strikes.
"He pitched smart. I was really impressed with the way C.C. and Victor worked together," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "We talked about starters finishing off innings, whether it be the sixth, or seventh or, in C.C.'s case today, the eighth inning and getting us through that. He did a good job of that."
Sabathia won nine of his final 10 decisions last year, compiling a 2.24 ERA. About that time, Sabathia accepted that he couldn't overpower every hitter and needed both speed and pitch placement to be successful.
He referenced a 2-1 fastball he threw to Seattle's Adrian Beltre on Sunday. It was only 91 mph, but the positioning was perfect and Beltre weakly grounded out.
"It was right where I wanted to throw it," Sabathia said. "I figure if I take something off it and throw it where I want to throw it, instead of just throwing 96 (mph), I'll be better off."
Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for sixth save, allowing one-out singles by Carl Everett and Beltre before inducing Kenji Johjima to ground into a double play. It was Wickman's 130th save with the Indians, moving him past Doug Jones and into first place in franchise history.
"It means I've been here for a while," Wickman said.
Cleveland had just four hits, and Martinez saw his streak of reaching base end at 45 games dating to Sept. 17. Martinez fouled out in the first, grounded out to shortstop in the fourth, popped out to short in the seventh and flied out in the ninth. It was the longest streak since Jim Edmonds' 47-game run in 2004.
Jarrod Washburn (2-5) allowed two runs and four hits in seven innings. He retired his first six batters before Ronnie Belliard's infield single leading off the third, a ball that bounced just high enough off the plate for Belliard to beat Beltre's throw from third. Belliard moved to third on Casey Blake's single and scored on Grady Sizemore's sacrifice fly.
Belliard doubled past Beltre with two outs in the seventh to score Travis Hafner from first.
Washburn wouldn't blame the Mariners' anemic offense.
"I've been giving the team a chance to win, but I am not winning," Washburn said. "I don't think I was brought here to lose and I've been doing a lot of losing and I'm getting pretty tired of it. It's time for me to pick it up and start outpitching the other guy."
Seattle's best scoring chance came in the fifth, when Johjima singled leading off and Jose Lopez followed with a soft, broken-bat single to center. Johjima advanced to third, but Lopez rounded first too far and was thrown out as he tried to get back to the base.
Sabathia then struck out Yuniesky Betancourt on a 97 mph fastball and got Ichiro Suzuki to ground weakly to shortstop. Suzuki singled in his first two plate appearances and is a .429 hitter (15-for-35) against Sabathia.
"That was probably the biggest point in the game," Sabathia said. "He does pretty good against me, so it was good to get him out."
Betancourt committed his first error of the season in the eighth inning when he failed to catch Johjima's throw as Blake attempted to steal second. The throw tipped off Betancourt's glove allowing Blake to advance to third. ... Hafner was back in the lineup after feeling ill Saturday and missing the game. Hafner, who slept through most of Saturday's game, went 0-for-3 Sunday. ... Suzuki had the 200th stolen base of his career in the first inning but was stranded at third.