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Cleveland at Tampa Bay

Scoreboard
Cleveland «03711000012191
Tampa Bay103000000461

Indians 12, Devil Rays 4

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Cleveland Indians knew what they had to do to keep pace in AL wild-card race.

Ron Belliard hit his first career grand slam during a seven-run third inning, leading the Indians to a 12-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Thursday night.

Jose Hernandez went 3-for-5 with three RBI for Cleveland, which stayed less than a percentage point behind the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics in the AL wild-card race.

The Indians took the field Thursday night knowing the Yankees and Athletics had already won afternoon games.

"We created opportunities and took advantage of them when they came about," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.

Cleveland has won seven of eight overall, and are 39-26 on the road. The Indians are 17-6 since July 31, the best record in the majors.

Eduardo Perez homered and tied a career-high with four RBI for Tampa Bay, which lost for the fourth time in 13 games.

"That was a long game, wasn't it?" Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella asked of the game that lasted five minutes short of three hours.

In the third, Hernandez had an RBI single to make it 4-1. Two runs scored on Kazmir's errant throw home on Ben Broussard's grounder with the bases loaded. Replays appeared to show the groundball went off Broussard's foot, which would have made it a foul ball.

Broussard said the ball did hit his foot.

"It barely nicked my foot, and took a funny bounce," Broussard said. "None of the umps really had a good look at it."

Belliard's grand slam off Travis Harper on a 3-2 pitch gave Cleveland a nine-run lead.

"He made a mistake," said Belliard, who entered hitting .231 with runners in scoring position and two outs. "It's been hard for me to get hits with two outs and guys on base. I'm excited we won the game."

An anticipated pitching duel between Cliff Lee of the Indians and 21-year old Tampa Bay rookie Scott Kazmir never happened.

Lee (14-4) allowed four runs and four hits over six innings. He is 5-0 in his last eight starts.

"He gave up the one three-run shot," Wedge said, referring to Perez's homer. "Other than that, he was down in the zone effectively."

Kazmir (7-9) lasted 2 1/3 innings, giving up eight runs -- four earned -- and eight hits. The left-hander had been 4-1 with a 2.44 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break.

"The main thing is just, the slider I was throwing, everyone was hanging right down the middle," Kazmir said. "It's frustrating on the mound."

It was Kazmir's shortest outing this season

"With young pitchers, you're going to get what you saw tonight at times," Piniella said.

Lee and Kazmir faced each other in Cleveland on Aug. 14, when the Devil Rays won 1-0. Neither was involved in the decision that saw Lee work eight scoreless innings and Kazmir not allow a run over six innings.

Consecutive run-scoring doubles by Hernandez and Aaron Boone, and an RBI single by Broussard put the Indians up 3-1 in the second.

Hernandez, who had four hits in his last 31 at-bats, had an RBI single in fourth, and Travis Hafner hit his 20th homer -- a solo shot -- one inning later.

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the first on Perez's RBI grounder. He hit the three-run homer in the third.

Lee retired his final 10 batters after Perez's homer. He had five strikeouts and no walks.

Notes

  • Tampa Bay has allowed nine grand slams this season. The major-league record of 14 was set by the Detroit Tigers in 1996.
  • Cleveland C Victor Martinez singled in his first four at-bats before grounding out hard to second in the eighth. He went 3-for-3 with a sacrifice fly on Wednesday.
  • Lee is 8-2 on the road this season.
  • Kazmir has 137 strikeouts this year, the most by an AL rookie in one season since Baltimore's Rodrigo Lopez had 136 in 2003.
  • Perez's homer was his 10th of the season, coming on his 129th at-bat.
 
Copyright 2014 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

J. Hernandez
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 3
Cleveland

R. Belliard
AB 6
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 4
 
Cleveland Indians
Coco Crisp, CF5110104 .297
Ron Belliard, 2B6124022 .280
Jhonny Peralta, SS6010042 .300
Travis Hafner, DH6331013 .319
Victor Martinez, C5240000 .289
Jose Hernandez, LF5233001 .245
Aaron Boone, 3B4221112 .241
Ben Broussard, 1B5131000 .260
Casey Blake, RF4000026 .244
   a- Jeff Liefer, PH-RF1000002 .200
Totals4712191021022 
a-grounded out for Blake in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jhonny Peralta (28, Colome), Jose Hernandez (7, Kazmir), Aaron Boone (16, Kazmir), Ben Broussard (22, Colome)
HR - Ron Belliard (11, Harper), Travis Hafner (20, Harper)
RBI - Ron Belliard 4 (60), Travis Hafner (77), Jose Hernandez 3 (28), Aaron Boone (45), Ben Broussard (46)
2-OUT RBI - Ron Belliard 4 (21), Travis Hafner (33)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Ron Belliard (11, misplayed grounder)
Cleveland Indians
Cliff Lee (W,14-4) 6443051 3.93
Rafael Betancourt 2200040 3.02
Scott Sauerbeck 1000000 2.76
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 82-59, Rafael Betancourt 28-24, Scott Sauerbeck 8-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 4-10, Scott Sauerbeck 2-1
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 23, Rafael Betancourt 8, Scott Sauerbeck 3
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Julio Lugo, SS3000001 .294
    Pete Laforest, C1010000 .229
Nick Green, 2B4110012 .246
Jorge Cantu, DH4110001 .293
Eduardo Perez, 1B-3B4114011 .275
Aubrey Huff, RF4000011 .261
Jonny Gomes, LF4000020 .281
Alex Gonzalez, 3B-SS4010010 .263
Toby Hall, C-1B3000011 .276
Damon Hollins, CF3110021 .264
Totals34464098 
Batting
2B - Jorge Cantu (31, Lee), Alex Gonzalez (14, Betancourt)
HR - Eduardo Perez (10, Lee)
RBI - Eduardo Perez 4 (27)
2-OUT RBI - Eduardo Perez 3 (12)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
E - Scott Kazmir (3, wild throw)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Scott Kazmir (L,7-9) 2.1884130 4.12
Travis Harper 2.2744142 7.36
Jesus Colome 4400030 5.79
IBB - A. Boone by Scott Kazmir
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 57-36, Travis Harper 67-45, Jesus Colome 56-36
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 4-1, Travis Harper 2-2, Jesus Colome 8-1
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 17, Travis Harper 16, Jesus Colome 16
Game Information
Attendance - 9172
Game Time - 2:55
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Larry Poncino, First Base - Paul Nauert, Second Base - Mark Wegner, Third Base - Gary Darling