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Cleveland at Cincinnati

Scoreboard
Final
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
R
H
E
Cleveland
(18-23)
100400000582
Cincinnati
(15-27)
102000000390
W: C. Sabathia (3-3) L: E. Ramirez (0-2)
S: B. Wickman (12)
HR: CLE - C. Sabathia (1)   CIN - None

Indians 5, Reds 3

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

CINCINNATI -- Three hours before the first pitch, C.C. Sabathia had a bat in his hands and a smile on his face. He was ready to hit.

"I came in here with my batting gloves on," he said.

Those formfitting gloves got a memorable workout.

Sabathia sparked the Cleveland Indians' listless offense with his first career homer Saturday night, setting up a 5-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds that became a showcase for the All-Star pitcher.

Sabathia's two-run shot off Elizardo Ramirez (0-2) put the Indians ahead to stay in the fourth inning and upheld the pitching staff's tradition of swinging like a DH whenever it faces the Reds.

Seven AL pitchers have homered since interleague play began in 1997, four of them Indians. Sabathia, Dwight Gooden and Dave Burba have homered in Cincinnati, and Jason Davis homered off Atlanta's Russ Ortiz on June 20 last year.

When he dug in with the score tied, Sabathia envisioned himself hitting a homer -- not that that's unusual.

"I swing as hard as I can every time," Sabathia said. "I just lucked out up there and actually caught up with one."

With that one swing, Sabathia matched Cleveland's entire run production in its two previous games. Cleveland was batting a league-low .237 and had scored 154 runs, also the worst in the AL, after losing the series opener 2-1 on Friday.

Sabathia provided his offense with a left-handed complement.

"I don't know his background swinging, but he's no slouch up there," Reds manager Dave Miley said.

Sabathia (3-3) also emerged from a personal three-game losing streak, getting his first victory since April 29. He gave up seven hits and three runs -- two earned -- in six innings.

Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 14 chances. Wickman has converted his last eight save opportunities, and hasn't allowed a run during eight appearances in May.

The Reds have lost 17 of their last 22 games, tumbling into last place in the NL Central during a month of misery. They haven't won consecutive games since April 17-18.

Ken Griffey Jr. drove in a pair of runs with a single and a groundout in his first two at-bats, helping the Reds pull ahead 3-1. He also had an over-the-shoulder catch on Aaron Boone 's drive to the warning track in center field in the second inning.

All Griffey could do was watch Sabathia's ball clear the wall in the fourth, drawing a huge cheer from a vocal contingent of Indians fans in the crowd of 31,083. Sabathia watched Griffey -- his favorite athlete as a boy growing up in California -- give chase and then give up as the ball landed a scant 5 feet beyond the wall.

"That was probably the best part of hitting the home run," Sabathia said. "You know I'm a big Griffey fan, and watching him chase that ball was huge."

Sabathia dropped his head in respect for the opposing pitcher and rounded the bases without a hint of celebration, thinking about all the skeptical friends he could needle.

"I'm thinking about the people I'm going to call, because everybody told me I couldn't hit," he said. "It felt weird."

Sabathia was 5-for-20 for his career when he connected off Ramirez, who fell behind 2-0 in the count and was just trying to throw a strike. Ramirez grabbed the rosin bag, squeezed it angrily and threw it at the ground while Sabathia completed his 360-foot trot.

"He fell behind C.C. in the count, and he's got a good swing," Reds catcher Javier Valentin said. "That's something he's got to learn."

Sabathia made contact in all three at-bats, hitting a flyball and a groundout. Manager Eric Wedge let him bat in the top of the seventh instead of sending up a pinch-hitter, then went to the bullpen in the bottom of the inning.

"There was no harm in giving him another chance," Wedge said.

Notes

  • Cleveland leads the intrastate series 20-15.
  • The other three AL pitchers to homer in interleague play were Bobby Witt of Texas, Esteban Yan of Tampa Bay and Mark Hendrickson of Toronto.
  • Sabathia has his own bats, but uses them to collect souvenir autographs of other players. He's gotten Griffey and Adam Dunn to sign them. Sabathia used a bat from teammate Jose Hernandez in the game.
  • C Victor Martinez snapped an 0-for-17 slump with an RBI single in the first.
  • LF Jody Gerut has hit safely in each of his first three games since returning from reconstructive knee surgery last September.
  • Reds pitchers have hit four batters during the series.
  • Sabathia's homer was the 63rd off Cincinnati pitching, the most in the majors.
 
Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Players of the Game
Cleveland

C. Sabathia
IP 6.0
H 7
ER 2
BB 0
K 6
Cincinnati

S. Casey
AB 4
R 1
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF4000010 .273
Casey Blake, RF4010000 .195
Ben Broussard, 1B4120001 .265
Victor Martinez, C4011011 .195
Jody Gerut, LF4110012 .400
Aaron Boone, 3B3100010 .162
Alex Cora, 2B3010002 .228
Jhonny Peralta, SS4112002 .258
C.C. Sabathia, P3112000 .333
    Bob Howry, P0000000 .000
    Arthur Rhodes, P0000000 .000
   a- Ron Belliard, PH1000001 .260
    Bob Wickman, P0000000 .000
Totals34585049 
a-grounded out for Rhodes in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ben Broussard (12, Ramirez), Alex Cora (4, Wagner)
HR - C.C. Sabathia (1, Ramirez)
RBI - Victor Martinez (11), Jhonny Peralta 2 (14), C.C. Sabathia 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Victor Martinez (3), Jhonny Peralta 2 (7), C.C. Sabathia 2 (2)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Cora-Peralta-Broussard
E - Casey Blake (2, Misplayed grounder), Jhonny Peralta (7, Wild throw)
Cleveland Indians
C.C. Sabathia (W,3-3) 6732060 3.48
Bob Howry (H,5) 1.1100010 2.55
Arthur Rhodes (H,8) 0.2100020 0.92
Bob Wickman (S,12) 1000000 3.52
Pitches-Strikes - C.C. Sabathia 103-73, Bob Howry 31-19, Arthur Rhodes 11-8, Bob Wickman 18-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C.C. Sabathia 9-2, Bob Howry 1-2, Bob Wickman 2-1
Batters Faced - C.C. Sabathia 24, Bob Howry 5, Arthur Rhodes 3, Bob Wickman 3
Cincinnati Reds
Felipe Lopez, SS4010011 .296
William Bergolla, 2B4210001 .154
Sean Casey, 1B4131010 .302
Ken Griffey Jr., CF4012011 .260
Adam Dunn, LF4000022 .254
Joe Randa, 3B4000010 .286
Austin Kearns, RF4020010 .248
Javier Valentin, C4010002 .205
Elizardo Ramirez, P2000022 .000
   a- Luis Lopez, PH1000001 .000
    Kent Mercker, P0000000 .000
    Ryan Wagner, P0000000 .000
Totals353930910 
a-fouled out for Ramirez in the 7th
Batting
2B - Sean Casey (12, Sabathia), Austin Kearns (8, Sabathia)
RBI - Sean Casey (21), Ken Griffey Jr. 2 (26)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Randa-Bergolla-Casey
Cincinnati Reds
Elizardo Ramirez (L,0-2) 7755031 4.80
Kent Mercker 1000000 2.29
Ryan Wagner 1100010 4.09
HBP - Cora (by Elizardo Ramirez), A. Boone (by Elizardo Ramirez)
WP - Elizardo Ramirez (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Elizardo Ramirez 94-64, Kent Mercker 15-9, Ryan Wagner 15-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Elizardo Ramirez 8-9, Kent Mercker 2-1, Ryan Wagner 2-0
Batters Faced - Elizardo Ramirez 29, Kent Mercker 3, Ryan Wagner 4
Game Information
Attendance - 31083
Game Time - 2:43
Temperature - 71
Umpires - Home - Tim Welke, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Gary Cederstrom, Third Base - Bill Welke