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Oakland at Cleveland

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Cleveland «00000023x583

Broussard flips switch as Indians hang on to wild card

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- As the ball sliced through the thick summer air, Ben Broussard's mind cleared. For a moment, he forgot about his two errors and the batting slump that wouldn't go away.

And when Broussard's second homer of the game finally cleared the right-field wall, landing in the first row of seats, Cleveland's first baseman allowed himself a brief moment to celebrate.

The Indians may remember it a lot longer.

Broussard's tiebreaking three-run shot in the eighth inning, sent Cleveland to a 5-2 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night and kept the Indians in control of the AL wild-card race.

Cleveland was down 2-0 in the seventh when Broussard hit a two-run shot, and it was 2-2 when he delivered the Indians' biggest homer of a season that's getting more special by the day.

"I haven't had a lot of hits in September," said Broussard, who was in a 1-for-23 slump before homering in the seventh. "But right now, all I'm worried about is right now. I just want to get to the postseason."

The comeback allowed the Indians to maintain their one-game lead over the New York Yankees for the wild card, and Cleveland moved 2½ games ahead of the Athletics.

"It's probably our biggest win to date," Indians starter Kevin Millwood said. "This is fun, man. Everybody around here is having a good time."

Millwood (8-11), who hasn't received any run support all season, didn't get any runs until the seventh. He allowed one run and seven hits while lowering his league-leading ERA to 3.02.

The Indians turned a season-high five double plays, including a comical one in the ninth when rotund closer Bob Wickman tumbled over the bag while attempting to catch the return throw at first.

Wickman hit the ground, bounced and blocked the throw with his body before alertly touching the base to get Oakland's Dan Johnson, who had missed the base as he ran by.

"It didn't look too good," said Wickman, who finished for his 40th save.

With the score tied 2-2 in the eighth, Travis Hafner singled with one out off Justin Duchscherer (6-4) and Victor Martinez singled. One out later, Broussard hit a towering shot to right that didn't seem to want to come down.

Right fielder Nick Swisher parked under it on the warning track, and leaped at the wall. But the ball barely cleared his glove, landing in the first row.

"I didn't know if it was out," Broussard said. "I was looking at the ball, and then watching him. He looked like he had it, but I'm glad he didn't catch it. It was a wall scraper for sure. But at this point in the season, who cares. Whatever it takes."

Duchscherer felt he made a quality pitch to Broussard.

"I went to the bread and butter, my cutter," he said. "He didn't hit it as good as he can, but he got enough of it."

Broussard had tied it in the seventh with a shot to dead center off reliever Jay Witasick.

The homer snapped a 17-inning scoreless drought for the Indians, who were beaten 2-0 on four hits by Dan Haren and four Oakland relievers in the series opener and couldn't do anything for six innings against A's starter Kirk Saarloos.

The right-hander shut out the Indians on three hits and was leading 2-0 when A's manager Ken Macha decided to go to his bullpen.

"We got through last night 2-0, but we couldn't hold 2-0 tonight," Macha said.

The game was delayed for 21 minutes in the sixth when a computer system shut down and caused several of the toothbrush-shaped light towers above Jacobs Field to go dark.

With Oakland's Marco Scutaro at the plate, halogen bulbs in the towers went black, darkening large areas of the ballpark. Umpire crew chief Randy Marsh cleared the field until the lights warmed up again.

That wasn't the only blown fuse, either.

Cleveland manager Eric Wedge was ejected in the fifth by plate umpire Larry Vanover for arguing balls and strikes.

Notes

  • The Indians have won eight of nine and have won 19 of their last 25.
  • Broussard's errors snapped his streak of 65 consecutive games without one.
  • Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Before the game, Smith visited with Swisher, the A's right fielder who played baseball for the Buckeyes from 2000-02.
  • While the crowd waited for the lights to come on, fans watched other major-league games on the giant scoreboard as Bruce Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark and The Doors' Light My Fire played through the ballpark's speakers.
 
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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Bob Wickman high-fives game hero Ben Broussard, who knocks in all five runs on two homers.  (AP)
Bob Wickman high-fives game hero Ben Broussard, who knocks in all five runs on two homers. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

B. Broussard
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 5
Cleveland

K. Millwood
IP 8.0
H 7
ER 1
BB 2
K 2
 
Oakland Athletics
Mark Ellis, 2B4020001.316
Jason Kendall, C4000003.265
Mark Kotsay, CF3120101.279
Eric Chavez, 3B4011014.272
Scott Hatteberg, DH4000002.274
Jay Payton, LF4010000.277
Dan Johnson, 1B4010002.289
Marco Scutaro, SS4000012.232
Nick Swisher, RF2110102.231
Totals332812217
BATTING
2B - E Chavez (35)
RBI - E Chavez (89)
BASERUNNING
SB - M Kotsay (5)
Oakland Athletics
Kirk Saarloos 6.03004503.89
Jay Witasick 1.02220113.02
Justin Duchscherer (L,6-4) 1.03330312.38
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF3020001.290
Coco Crisp, LF3000004.304
Jhonny Peralta, SS3000130.284
Travis Hafner, DH4010002.300
a-Franklin Gutierrez, PR0100000.000
Victor J. Martinez, C4120020.297
Ron Belliard, 2B4110013.284
Ben Broussard, 1B4225010.251
Aaron Boone, 3B3000120.239
Casey Blake, RF1000200.247
Totals295854910
BATTING
2B - G Sizemore (31)
HR - B Broussard 2 (18)
RBI - B Broussard 5 (58)
S - C Crisp (10)
FIELDING
E - J Peralta (17); B Broussard 2 (9)
Cleveland Indians
Kevin Millwood (W,8-11) 8.07212203.02
Bob Wickman (S,40) 1.01000002.62
Game Information
Attendance - 21564
Game Time - 2:36
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Larry Vanover, First Base - Randy Marsh, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Sam Holbrook