SEATTLE -- Those memories of players wearing parkas and groundkeepers shoveling snow off the Jacobs Field grass can finally be put away.
A full 2,400 miles from home, the Cleveland Indians have finished off their home-opening series nearly six months after it was snowed out.
Playing a "home" game in their third stadium this season, the Indians used a big third inning to back Fausto Carmona in Cleveland's 12-4 win over the Seattle Mariners in the opening game of an odd doubleheader on Wednesday night.
Cleveland was the home team for the first game in just the second doubleheader in Safeco Field history. The twinbill was the final makeup the teams were forced to play after their four-game series in April in Cleveland was snowed out.
"It's been an interesting series to say the least," Indians' manager Eric Wedge said. "It's just part of a big league season."
More importantly, the Indians stayed a half-game ahead of Boston for the best record in the American League. They also moved into position to clinch home-field in the first round of the playoffs after the Los Angeles Angels lost to Texas. A win in Game 2 of the doubleheader would ensure Cleveland of opening the postseason at home, most likely against the New York Yankees.
Luis Rivas homered and tripled in the third inning, as the Indians sent 13 batters to the plate, all of which either scored or drove in a run in the inning.
Carmona didn't need that much offensive help and looked postseason ready. The righty likely wrapped up the AL ERA title, despite giving up a first-inning two-run homer to Seattle's Jose Guillen -- the first homer Carmona allowed since Aug. 21.
Other than Guillen's 22nd homer, Carmona was strong, improving to 19-8 in what was likely his last start before the playoffs begin. He pitched seven innings, giving up three runs and seven hits with four strikeouts. He retired 15 consecutive batters at one point before Wladimir Balentien's first career homer in the seventh.
"We feel ready to start the playoffs," Carmona said. "(I) feel great about what has happened this season."
On a clear, crisp day, a few thousand fans took advantage of the doubleheader and used their tickets for Wednesday's nightcap to attend the afternoon matinee. A number were Indians' fans and they had plenty to cheer in the third.
Rivas started the inning lining his first homer in more than two years off the left-field foul pole, in just his second at-bat since being brought up on Sept. 1. It only got worse for Seattle starter Ryan Feierabend (1-6), who gave up five hits to the next seven batters, including an RBI double to Ryan Garko and RBI single by Jason Michaels. Casey Blake finally ended Feierabend's afternoon with a bloop double just inside the right-field line.
"Ryan has had problems early lately getting his change up down. That's his bread-and-butter," Seattle manager John McLaren said. "When you make mistakes with your bread-and-butter you have problems."
Feierabend's replacement, Jorge Campillo didn't fare much better. Ben Francisco greeted Campillo with a two-run single to center, before Rivas tripled to left-center. Rivas later added a two-run single in the sixth.
"He got us going early with the big home run, then had another big hit and made a couple of nice defensive plays," Wedge said of Rivas. "He had a fantastic game."
Despite being the home team, all Indians' stats were credited as "road" stats. According to the Mariners, it was the first time since 1913 that a home team batted first in its own ballpark.
Cleveland won three of four of the makeup games in the snowed-out series. ... Campillo left in the sixth inning after taking a line drive from Casey Blake off his right arm, near the wrist. X-rays were negative. ... Rivas' last homer came on Sept. 13, 2005 off Detroit's Nate Robertson.