Seattle at Cleveland

Seattle falls as Cleveland keeps crushing opponents' pitching

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Journey's Don't Stop Believin' was playing in the Indians' clubhouse following most of the team's 43 home wins last season. It was soft, melodic, unthreatening.

On Tuesday night, Atreyu, a hardcore outfit from Southern California, was the preferred house band -- and their new CD with chugging guitar riffs and pounding drums threatened to peel paint.

Heavy music. Heavy hitters.

Jhonny Peralta and Travis Hafner hit consecutive homers in the fifth inning and Victor Martinez had two RBI to back Cliff Lee as Cleveland won its sixth straight, 9-5 over the Seattle Mariners.

At 6-1, the Indians are off to their best start since opening 11-1 in 2002. It's also the first time they've been in first place in the AL Central since April 18, 2002, a season they finished 74-88.

Peralta, Hafner and Martinez, the Nos. 3-5 hitters, went a combined 8-for-10 with two homers, five RBI and six runs.

"If they keep doing that," Lee said, "we're going to keep rolling."

Peralta's two-run homer and Hafner's solo shot off Jarrod Washburn (1-1) gave the Indians a 6-0 lead and provided Lee (1-0) with all the cushion he would need.

The left-hander, who improved to 5-0 in six career starts against Seattle, allowed two runs and four hits in six innings. He didn't have his best stuff, but with the way the Indians are playing right now, he didn't need it.

"We're all confident right now," said Lee, who retired 14 straight after a leadoff walk in the first. "Everybody is pitching well. Everybody is hitting well. We keep swinging like this, and I don't see a whole lot changing."

Jose Lopez hit a two-run homer for the Mariners, who have lost four in a row.

Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-4 and is 0-for-17 in his last four games -- the first time he has gone that long without a hit since Aug. 2-5, 2005.

Peralta and Hafner connected for two-out homers totaling an estimated 813 feet in the fifth off Washburn, who was tagged for six runs and nine hits in five innings.

Casey Blake doubled leading off, but Washburn retired the next two hitters. However, Peralta, who set a franchise home run record for shortstops last season with 24, hit his first of '06 to make it 5-0.

Hafner followed with his fifth homer in 15 at-bats, a laser shot into the budding trees and empty picnic tables in center. Hafner, who hit 33 homers last season, didn't hit No. 5 of 2005 until May 17.

"I didn't make any mistakes in the first two innings, but I didn't throw very well after that," said Washburn, who won his previous five starts at Jacobs Field. "They are locked in and when you make mistakes to a team that's locked in, you pay the price."

Seattle cut it to 6-2 in the sixth on Lopez's homer, and the Mariners pulled to 6-3 in the seventh on Yuniesky Betancourt's RBI single.

But the Indians, hitting .324 this season, added three runs in the seventh on Martinez's RBI single and Ronnie Belliard's two-out, two-run single. In the eighth, Belliard made a nice backhand stop up the middle and flipped the ball to Peralta to start a double play.

The Mariners hit a couple of line drives off Lee, but didn't get one to fall for a hit until the fifth when Kenji Johjima doubled with two outs.

The Indians came out swinging -- literally -- against Washburn, who needed just 10 pitches to get through the first two innings and threw only 22 after three. But in the fourth, Cleveland's aggressiveness paid off.

Peralta singled and went to second when left fielder Raul Ibanez misjudged his one-hopper and let it hop over his head for an error. Hafner ripped Washburn's first pitch for an RBI single, and Martinez didn't let Washburn relax by following with a run-scoring double on the first pitch.

"The way we're hitting," Lee said, "it's just a matter of when we're going to get their guy."

In Peralta, Hafner and Martinez, the Indians have a middle of the order than can hit with anyone.

"They work off each other and feed off each other," manager Eric Wedge said. "That's what we've been seeing."

Notes

  • Ichiro's average dropped to .176 (6-for-34), but Mariners manager Mike Hargrove is hardly ready to press the panic button. "In '04 he had the same kind of start, and what did he get about 260 hits (262)? We'll take that," Hargrove said. "Death, taxes and Ichiro getting base hits. Some things are a solid bet."
  • Belliard returned to the lineup after missing two games with a strained calf.
  • The Indians have scored first in all six wins.
 
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Travis Hafner drills his fifth homer of '06, a total he didn't reach last season until May 17.  (AP)
Travis Hafner drills his fifth homer of '06, a total he didn't reach last season until May 17. (AP)

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Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, RF4001112
Jose Lopez, 2B5112013
Raul Ibanez, LF4110122
Richie Sexson, 1B3000101
Adrian Beltre, 3B3000010
Carl Everett, DH4000022
Kenji Johjima, C4120011
Joe Borchard, CF4110022
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS3121000
   a- Roberto Petagine, PH1010000
Totals3558431013 
a-doubled for Betancourt in the 9th
Batting
2B - Kenji Johjima (, Lee), Yuniesky Betancourt 2 (, Lee, Cabrera), Roberto Petagine (, Betancourt)
HR - Jose Lopez (, Lee)
RBI - Ichiro Suzuki (), Jose Lopez 2 (), Yuniesky Betancourt ()
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Joe Borchard 1
DP - J. Lopez-Betancourt-Sexson
PB - Kenji Johjima ()
E - Raul Ibanez (, Misplayed batted ball)
Seattle Mariners
Jarrod Washburn (L,-) 5966102
Jeff Harris 1.1222010
George Sherrill0111100
J.J. Putz 0.2100010
Julio Mateo 1000010
IBB - Hafner by George Sherrill
Pitches-Strikes - Jarrod Washburn 67-43, Jeff Harris 15-11, George Sherrill 7-2, J.J. Putz 5-4, Julio Mateo 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jarrod Washburn 7-7, Jeff Harris 2-1
Batters Faced - Jarrod Washburn 24, Jeff Harris 6, George Sherrill 2, J.J. Putz 2, Julio Mateo 3
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF5011001
Jason Michaels, LF4110002
Jhonny Peralta, SS4332000
Travis Hafner, DH3321100
Victor Martinez, C3032100
Eduardo Perez, 1B3001002
   a- Ben Broussard, PH-1B1000013
Ronnie Belliard, 2B4012001
Aaron Boone, 3B4110001
Casey Blake, RF4110021
Totals3591392311 
a-struck out for Perez in the 7th
Batting
2B - Jhonny Peralta (, Harris), Victor Martinez (, Washburn), Aaron Boone (, Washburn), Casey Blake (, Washburn)
HR - Jhonny Peralta (, Washburn), Travis Hafner (, Washburn)
RBI - Grady Sizemore (), Jhonny Peralta 2 (), Travis Hafner (), Victor Martinez 2 (), Eduardo Perez (), Ronnie Belliard 2 ()
2-OUT RBI - Grady Sizemore (), Jhonny Peralta 2 (), Travis Hafner (), Ronnie Belliard 2 ()
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Belliard-Peralta-Broussard
E - Aaron Boone (, Misplayed grounder)
Cleveland Indians
Cliff Lee (W,-) 6422181
Fernando Cabrera 1211020
Scott Sauerbeck0011100
Matt Miller 1000100
Rafael Betancourt 1211000
HBP - Beltre (by Matt Miller)
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 96-68, Fernando Cabrera 16-12, Scott Sauerbeck 7-3, Matt Miller 10-4, Rafael Betancourt 17-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 2-9, Matt Miller 2-0, Rafael Betancourt 1-2
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 24, Fernando Cabrera 5, Scott Sauerbeck 1, Matt Miller 4, Rafael Betancourt 5
Game Information
Attendance - 17559
Game Time - 2:32
Temperature - 73
Umpires - Home - Field Culbreth, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Tim McClelland, Third Base - Marty Foster