SEATTLE -- Of the 117 wins the Seattle Mariners have amassed during their remarkable season, none meant nearly as much as No. 1 of the playoffs.
''There was a lot of pressure for us to get a victory,'' third baseman David Bell said. ''Going to Cleveland down 2-0 wouldn't have been good.''
Jamie Moyer and the Mariners handled their biggest game this season -- and the Indians -- just like they've done since April.
Moyer took a shutout into the seventh inning and Seattle scored four runs before making an out in the first as the Mariners evened their AL playoff series at one game apiece Thursday with a 5-1 win over the Indians.
''This was as close to a must-game win as you would want to be in,'' Mariners manager Lou Piniella said. ''This was a game we wanted to have, and Jamie got it done.''
The 38-year-old Moyer, who won a career-high 20 games during the regular season and beat Cleveland twice, allowed five hits and one run in just the second postseason appearance of his 14-year career.
In 1997, he was forced out of his only playoff start with a strained elbow and last season he missed a chance to pitch in October when he broke his kneecap during a simulated game before the ALCS.
''Getting to the playoffs healthy, getting through a game healthy, and winning a playoff game is a dream come true,'' Moyer said.
Mike Cameron and Edgar Martinez hit two-run homers in the first off losing pitcher Chuck Finley and Bell added a solo shot for the Mariners, who refused to panic after losing Game 1.
Another loss at home, and Seattle would have been in jeopardy of having its AL record-setting, 116-win season end prematurely. But as they did in winning the West by 14 games, the Mariners opened an early lead and never looked back.
''Today, I think we proved how resilient we've been,'' Cameron said. ''They had all the emotions going in their direction.''
For the second straight game, the Mariners managed just six hits. But this time, three homers gave them five runs.
''We've taken control of a lot of games like that this year,'' Moyer said. ''Guys felt like they needed to do a little bit more, and we were able to do that.''
Following an off-day on Friday, the best-of-five series resumes Saturday at Jacobs Field in Cleveland. Indians rookie C.C. Sabathia, who didn't face the Mariners this season, will start against Aaron Sele.
Sele had two no-decisions against the Indians, and started the Aug. 5 game in which the Mariners built a 12-0 lead before Cleveland staged baseball's biggest comeback in 76 years to win 15-14 in 11 innings.
Moyer wasn't going to let there be any kind of miracle comeback in Game 2.
Staked to a 4-0 lead in the first, Moyer, who was 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA against Cleveland this season, had the Indians swinging over, through and above his assortment of breaking pitches.
''Moyer did what Moyer has done to us,'' Kenny Lofton said. ''He threw slower, slower and slower.''
In the fourth, the Indians had runners at first and second with one out. But Moyer retired Ellis Burks on a fly ball to right, and with a runner at third, he struck out Jim Thome.
''He was great out there,'' Burks said. ''He was accurate with all his pitches, even his breaking pitch. Hopefully, we won't see him again.''
Moyer, who would start a Game 5 if necessary, gave up consecutive singles to start the seventh and was replaced by Jeff Nelson.
Before leaving the field, Moyer tipped his cap to acknowledge a standing ovation before giving high-fives to his teammates.
''He's proven again and again that you don't have to throw hard to be successful,'' said catcher Dan Wilson. ''The way he mixes pitches, you can't set on any one pitch. He's tough.''
Nelson walked Travis Fryman to load the bases but got Marty Cordova to hit into a run-scoring double play and Einar Diaz lined out to center.
Shut out in Game 1 by Bartolo Colon, the Mariners scored four runs in the first on the homers by Cameron and Martinez. Seattle had gone 22 straight scoreless innings -- dating to Game 5 of the '95 ALCS -- in the postseason against the Indians.
Finley waited 15 years to make his first postseason start, and after just 14 pitches he was already behind 4-0 following the shots by Cameron and Martinez.
''The first inning wasn't what I envisioned it to be like,'' Finley said. ''Hopefully, I'll get a chance to redeem myself.''
Ichiro Suzuki walked leading off and Cameron followed with his first career postseason homer and just his second hit in 18 at-bats against Finley.
Bret Boone singled and Martinez jumped all over Finley's first pitch, hitting a meaty fastball 421 feet to center giving a Safeco record sellout crowd of 48,052 more reason to believe the Mariners' remarkable season was far from over.
Bell made it 5-0 in the fifth with a leadoff homer.
Notes: Earring Gate Part II: Omar Vizquel and Arthur Rhodes had their first meeting since Aug. 25 when the Indians shortstop complained Rhodes' diamond-studded earrings were bothering him at the plate. Rhodes was ejected from that game and the benches emptied over the jewelry. On Thursday, Vizquel, now 1-for-23 vs. Rhodes, popped up against the lefty. ''I just wanted to keep my composure,'' said Rhodes. ''He didn't say nothing and I didn't either.'' ... The Mariners were 87-9 when scoring first in the regular season. ... Nelson's appearance was his 17th in division series play, adding to his own record. ... Cleveland reliever Danys Baez hit 101 mph on the radar gun on a pitch to Boone in the eighth.
Peninsula Clarion ©2013. All Rights Reserved.