Archive for Sunday, July 25, 2004

Late rally helps Tribe complete sweep

July 25, 2004


— On a night the Cleveland Indians celebrated 10 years of great memories at Jacobs Field, rookie Grady Sizemore gave them a new one to savor.

Sizemore hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth inning to give Cleveland a 4-3 win Saturday and a sweep of a day-night doubleheader against the Kansas City Royals.

Sizemore's base hit to left on a 3-2 pitch from Rudy Seanez -- Kansas City's fourth pitcher in the ninth -- scored pinch-runner Tim Laker and capped Cleveland's two-run rally.

"I'm trying to play it cool," said Sizemore, the Indians' prized prospect, who was remarkably calm after just his fifth game. "But it's been pretty wild around here already."

Matt Miller (3-1) struck out five in two innings as the Indians won their third straight and moved to .500 (49-49) for the first time since July 2.

Cleveland did it with another late-inning comeback at the Jake. The Indians have won 127 times in their final at-bat since the ballpark opened in 1994.

"If you're trailing in the ninth by one run or you're tied, this is the place to be," said Royals starter Brian Anderson, who has had two stints with the Indians. "It doesn't matter which era. The crowd gets into it, the music gets going, and the place becomes electric.

"It happened again tonight."

Chad Durbin's six-hitter against his former team led the Indians to a 10-2 victory in the opener.

The Royals, who got a strong start from Anderson in the nightcap, have lost seven of nine and dropped to an AL-worst 35-61.

Anderson didn't have much trouble against the Indians, allowing just two hits in six innings. The left-hander also received a nice defensive play by left fielder Ruben Mateo, who threw out Victor Martinez trying to score in the fifth.

In the eighth, Mateo cut down Sizemore, who pinch ran and was out by 10 feet at home. The former high school football star couldn't knock the ball loose from catcher John Buck.

"He didn't budge," Sizemore said. "I'm sure he didn't feel a thing."

With the Royals leading 3-1, reliever Ryan Bukvich gave up one run in the eighth and walked Ronnie Belliard opening the ninth. Jaime Cerda got two outs, but Royals manager Tony Pena brought in Scott Sullivan, who walked pinch-hitter Matt Lawton.

Pena, without injured closer Jeremy Affeldt, then called on Rudy Seanez, who hasn't had a save since 2001. Ben Broussard, who won Friday's game with a walkoff homer in the 11th, greeted Seanez with an RBI single to score pinch-runner John McDonald and tie it 3-3.

Sizemore then dropped his winning single into left before being swarmed on by his teammates in the infield.

Pena said he made the moves in the ninth to get the right matchups, but he couldn't do anything about his reliever's wildness.

"When you work so hard to get a game to the ninth and lose, it hurts," he said. "A couple of walks cost us the ballgame."

The Indians nearly tied it in the eighth on Omar Vizquel's single to left. Broussard scored on the play but third-base coach Joel Skinner decided to test Mateo again and waved Sizemore around. But Mateo's throw was perfect, and Sizemore never had a chance.

In the day game, Durbin (4-4) lost a bid for his first career shutout in the ninth inning.

Belliard had three RBIs for the Indians, who scored eight runs in the second inning of the first game off Chris George (1-2).

Royals third baseman Joe Randa went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first game back since undergoing knee surgery on June 28.

Notes: Pena, a catcher for three seasons in Cleveland, helped throw out the ceremonial first pitch as part of festivities to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Jacobs Field. Fans voted Pena's game-winning homer in Game 1 of the 1995 division series against Boston as the top moment in the ballpark's history. ... With Lawton nursing a sore hamstring, Lou Merloni started in left for the first time in his career. It looked like it as Merloni allowed one ball to get through his legs and had another bounce off his head as he tried a diving catch. ... The Indians are 10-0 in one-run games on the weekend at home.

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