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Durbin benefits from big second inning as Indians hammer Royals

SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Chad Durbin finally got back at the Kansas City Royals and showed the Cleveland Indians that he might be better as a starter.

Durbin pitched a six-hitter against his former team, losing a bid for his first career shutout in the ninth inning as the Indians beat the Royals 10-2 in a day-night doubleheader opener Saturday.

Ronnie Belliard had three RBI for the Indians, who scored eight runs in the second inning off Chris George (1-2).

Pitching against the team that drafted him in 1996 and released him six years later, Durbin (4-4) was three outs from a shutout when David DeJesus reached on third baseman Casey Blake's error and Tony Graffanino hit a two-run home run.

"But a complete game," said Durbin, making just his third start this season. "I can't complain about that."

Durbin, who struck out three and walked none, got his first win as a starter since Oct. 4, 2001, for Kansas City against Cleveland. It was also his third career complete game, the first since Aug. 19, 2001.

"It was a lot of fun out there today," said Durbin, who gave up three game-ending home runs while pitching in relief earlier this season. "Especially against the Royals. I know those guys, and they know me."

In four previous outings against the Royals, Durbin had been 0-1 with a 15.43 ERA.

Jody Gerut added two RBI for the Indians, who improved to 19-3 in games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Kansas City has lost six of eight, falling to an AL-worst 35-60. A year ago after 95 games, the Royals were 53-42 and leading the AL Central by 6½ games.

Cleveland pounded George, recalled from the minors just to make the spot start and immediately sent back to Triple-A Omaha. But before heading to the airport, George had to take one for the team, losing for the first time in six career starts against Cleveland.

He allowed 10 runs and 11 hits in just three innings. He entered 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA against the Indians.

"You never want this to happen, but under these circumstances, it's even more magnified," George said. "It looks like a Triple-A pitcher got called up and just got lit up. I don't think that's the case. I think I can pitch up here and get people out."

George had trouble doing that in the second against Cleveland, which was shut out in consecutive games this week by the White Sox and had scored just three runs in its previous three games.

However, the Indians nearly tripled that total in the second, scoring eight runs on eight hits -- a few of them soft singles.

"The plan was for him to go five innings so we would not have to go to the bullpen that early," Royals manager Tony Pena said. "He got hit around. The first inning was good, but in the second inning he left everything up."

Durbin appreciated the run support, as did manager Eric Wedge. With his bullpen desperate for some rest, Wedge needed Durbin to pitch deep into the game. He couldn't have gone any deeper.

"He went beyond the call of duty," Wedge said.

Cleveland's eight-run second was a season-high for the Indians, who had only scored six runs in their previous 27 2/3 innings against George.

Victor Martinez led off with the first of five straight singles that gave the Indians a 3-0 lead. After Coco Crisp's fielder's choice scored another run, Belliard's two-out, two-run double made it 6-0.

Martinez got an RBI single his second time up in the inning, and Lou Merloni capped the outburst with a run-scoring single.

The Indians made it 10-0 in the third on Omar Vizquel's RBI double and Belliard's run-scoring single.

Kansas City's best scoring chance came after Mike Sweeney doubled with one out in the fourth, but Durbin got Matt Stairs to fly out and popped up Ken Harvey.

Notes

  • Shawn Camp saved Kansas City's bullpen, pitching five shutout innings in relief of George.
  • Sweeney is batting .431 (25-for-58) in his past 13 games.
  • The opener was a makeup of an April 21 rainout.
  • Kansas City outfielder Juan Gonzalez has resumed his rehab assignment in the Arizona Rookie League. Gonzalez, who hasn't played since May 21 because of back spasms, could return to the Royals as early as Tuesday.
  • Indians outfielder Matt Lawton didn't start after straining his right hamstring Friday. He was available to pinch hit.
  • Between games, the Royals activated third baseman Joe Randa, who had been sidelined since arthroscopic surgery on his right knee June 29. Randa was in the starting lineup for the night game.
AP NEWS
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Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
 
 
 
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Chad Durbin helps the Indians improve their stellar weekend record with his first CG since 2001.
Chad Durbin helps the Indians improve their stellar weekend record with his first CG since 2001. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

C. Durbin
IP 9.0
H 6
ER 1
BB 0
K 3
Cleveland

R. Belliard
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
 
Kansas City Royals
David DeJesus, CF4100010 .202
Tony Graffanino, 2B4112010 .271
Mike Sweeney, DH4030000 .294
Matt Stairs, RF2000002 .259
    Ruben Mateo, RF2010001 .260
Ken Harvey, 1B4000003 .303
Dee Brown, LF4010011 .265
Angel Berroa, SS2000000 .258
    Jose Bautista, 3B1000001 .191
Desi Relaford, 3B-SS3000001 .199
Alberto Castillo, C3000001 .226
Totals332620310 
Batting
2B - Mike Sweeney 2 (17, Durbin, Durbin)
HR - Tony Graffanino (3, Durbin)
RBI - Tony Graffanino 2 (25)
SB - Mike Sweeney (3, 2nd base off Durbin/Laker)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
E - Angel Berroa (17, misplayed grounder)
Kansas City Royals
Chris George (L,1-2) 3111010210 7.63
Shawn Camp 5300050 3.25
Pitches-Strikes - Chris George 84-56, Shawn Camp 50-39
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris George 5-3, Shawn Camp 9-2
Batters Faced - Chris George 22, Shawn Camp 19
Cleveland Indians
Coco Crisp, LF5211002 .270
Omar Vizquel, SS3111011 .298
   a- John McDonald, PH-SS2010010 .200
Ron Belliard, 2B5123002 .299
Victor Martinez, DH5231001 .308
Casey Blake, 3B4110111 .261
Lou Merloni, 1B4121020 .297
Jody Gerut, RF4112012 .249
Tim Laker, C4111000 .225
Grady Sizemore, CF3010100 .182
Totals39101410269 
a-singled for Vizquel in the 5th
Batting
2B - Coco Crisp (16, George), Omar Vizquel (17, George), Ron Belliard (29, George), Grady Sizemore (2, Camp)
RBI - Coco Crisp (35), Omar Vizquel (39), Ron Belliard 3 (42), Victor Martinez (77), Lou Merloni (26), Jody Gerut 2 (40), Tim Laker (14)
2-OUT RBI - Omar Vizquel (18), Ron Belliard 3 (19), Victor Martinez (25), Lou Merloni (12)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Blake-Belliard-Merloni
E - Casey Blake (15, throwing error)
Cleveland Indians
Chad Durbin (W,4-4) 9621031 7.43
WP - Chad Durbin (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Chad Durbin 103-72
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chad Durbin 7-17
Batters Faced - Chad Durbin 33
Game Information
Attendance - 18873
Game Time - 2:07
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Derryl Cousins, First Base - James Hoye, Second Base - Field Culbreth, Third Base - Jim Wolf