CLEVELAND -- Grady Sizemore didn't feel very good until his final swing.
"Until then, it was a pretty bad day," said Sizemore, who was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts before the base hit. "Nobody wants to strike out, but I had to try and put all that behind me."
The Indians won for the fifth time in six games and improved to 17-4 in interleague play the past two years. The Pirates fell to 4-19 on the road and have won just two of their last 15 games played in American League ballparks.
Aaron Boone, back in the lineup after missing Saturday's game with a sore back, lined a two-out single against Mike Gonzalez (1-2) and hustled to third on a double to left by Ronnie Belliard.
"I was going to try and score Boonie, but the ball hit the tarp and bounced back, so we held him," third-base coach Jeff Datz said. "Then Grady came through against a tough left-hander."
Sizemore came to the plate with a .191 (13-for-68) average against lefties, but lined a 3-2 pitch over the head of right fielder Jeromy Burnitz to win it.
Wickman (1-0) earned his first win since working a scoreless inning against Texas on Aug. 10, 2002 -- when he tore a ligament in his right elbow that required Tommy John surgery.
"I was just talking about that the other day," said Wickman, who missed all of 2003 and the first half of 2004 before going a combined 0-6 with 58 saves the past two seasons.
He also worked two innings for the first time since July 7, 2001, also in an interleague game against St. Louis.
"This was the perfect time to do it with an off day tomorrow," he said. "I feel fine. Pitching is pitching. I used to be a starter and middle reliever, so no big deal."
The Pirates put two runners on in the ninth against Wickman, who then induced pinch-hitter Jose Hernandez to bunt into a fielder's choice out at third and Jose Castillo to bounce into a double play.
Hernandez was 3-for-7 with two homers and five RBI against Wickman, but manager Jim Tracy ordered the former Indians infielder to bunt anyway.
"I was aware of the numbers, but right now Jose is not swinging that well," Tracy said of Hernandez, who is batting only .149. "It was important to try and get the runner to third and force the Indians to make many decisions."
Wickman was thinking right along with Tracy.
"I figured Jose would bunt and I was going over in my mind who I wanted to walk to keep the double play in order," Wickman said. "Then with two strikes on Castillo, I spun him with a breaking ball and Jhonny (Peralta) and Ronnie turned it."
Cleveland also put two on in the ninth, but Roberto Hernandez retired Victor Martinez to end the threat.
Pittsburgh's Nate McLouth had three hits, scored twice, and made a spectacular diving catch in center field to rob Boone of a hit with a runner on second in the eighth, keeping it tied at 2-all.
Jason Michaels had two hits and scored twice for Cleveland.
Trailing 2-1 in the sixth, Cleveland loaded the bases with one out against Pirates starter Paul Maholm. Matt Capps came on and retired Boone on a first-pitch double play.
The Indians tied it at 2-2 in the seventh. Michaels singled with one out and scored on Peralta's double off the wall in right.
Maholm struck out seven over 5 1/3 innings. The left-hander allowed one run and four hits -- all doubles -- walked three and hit two batters with pitches.
Indians right-hander Paul Byrd struck out four in seven innings and didn't walk a batter. He gave up two runs and six hits.
OF Jose Bautista was placed on the Pirates' bereavement list and returned to the Dominican Republic for the funeral of his grandmother. INF Yurendell DeCaster was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis and made his big league debut as a pinch runner in the ninth. ... Byrd threw 73 of 94 pitches for strikes. ... Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez has 12 RBI during a 12-game hitting streak. ... The three-game series drew a total of 94,887 fans.
|Players of the Game|
|Nate McLouth, CF||5||1||3||0||0||1||0||.250|
|Jack Wilson, SS||5||0||1||0||0||1||3||.288|
|Freddy Sanchez, 3B||5||1||2||1||0||0||3||.350|
|Jason Bay, LF||3||0||0||0||0||1||3||.276|
|Jeromy Burnitz, RF||4||0||2||1||0||0||1||.214|
|Ryan Doumit, DH||3||0||1||0||0||0||2||.216|
|Yurendell DeCaster, PR-DH||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Craig Wilson, 1B||3||0||0||0||0||0||1||.260|
|a- Jose Hernandez, PH-1B||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.149|
|Jose Castillo, 2B||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||.285|
|Humberto Cota, C||4||0||0||0||0||3||0||.226|
|a-hit into fielder's choice-bunting for C. Wilson in the 9th|
|2B - Nate McLouth (4, Betancourt), Jack Wilson (7, Wickman), Freddy Sanchez (11, Byrd)|
|SH - Ryan Doumit (1)|
|RBI - Freddy Sanchez (21), Jeromy Burnitz (25)|
|2-OUT RBI - Jeromy Burnitz (16)|
|SB - Nate McLouth (6, 2nd base off Byrd/Martinez)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - J. Wilson-Castillo-C. Wilson|
|E - Paul Maholm (2, throwing error)|
|Matt Capps (BS,3)||1.1||2||1||1||0||2||0||4.84|
|Mike Gonzalez (L,1-3)||0.2||3||1||1||0||0||0||2.12|
|IBB - Blake by Paul Maholm|
|HBP - Peralta (by Paul Maholm), A. Boone (by Paul Maholm)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Paul Maholm 101-59, Matt Capps 22-17, John Grabow 6-2, Salomon Torres 15-12, Roberto Hernandez 27-15, Mike Gonzalez 21-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Maholm 6-3, Matt Capps 1-0, Salomon Torres 1-2, Roberto Hernandez 1-0|
|Batters Faced - Paul Maholm 25, Matt Capps 5, John Grabow 1, Salomon Torres 5, Roberto Hernandez 5, Mike Gonzalez 5|
|Grady Sizemore, CF||6||0||1||1||0||4||0||.291|
|Jason Michaels, LF||5||2||2||0||0||2||0||.270|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||4||0||3||1||0||0||0||.250|
|Travis Hafner, DH||3||0||0||0||2||2||3||.310|
|Victor Martinez, C||3||0||1||1||2||0||4||.306|
|Eduardo Perez, 1B||3||0||1||0||0||0||3||.323|
|a- Ben Broussard, PH-1B||2||0||0||0||0||1||0||.380|
|Casey Blake, RF||4||0||1||0||1||0||1||.362|
|Aaron Boone, 3B||4||1||1||0||0||1||2||.252|
|Lou Merloni, 2B||3||0||0||0||0||2||2||.000|
|Ron Belliard, 2B||2||0||1||0||0||0||1||.268|
|a-struck out for Perez in the 8th|
|2B - Jason Michaels (10, Maholm), Jhonny Peralta 2 (9, Maholm, Capps), Victor Martinez (13, Maholm), Eduardo Perez (8, Maholm), Casey Blake (12, Torres), Ron Belliard (6, Gonzalez)|
|RBI - Grady Sizemore (23), Jhonny Peralta (21), Victor Martinez (26)|
|2-OUT RBI - Grady Sizemore (11), Jhonny Peralta (9), Victor Martinez (12)|
|Team LOB - 14|
|DP - Perez-Peralta-Byrd, Byrd-Peralta-Perez, Peralta-Belliard-Broussard|
|E - Aaron Boone (8, misplayed grounder)|
|Bob Wickman (W,1-0)||2||2||0||0||0||1||0||2.77|
|HBP - Bay (by Paul Byrd)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Paul Byrd 94-73, Rafael Betancourt 11-9, Bob Wickman 23-16|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Paul Byrd 5-11, Bob Wickman 4-1|
|Batters Faced - Paul Byrd 27, Rafael Betancourt 4, Bob Wickman 8|
|Attendance - 31589|
|Game Time - 3:19|
|Temperature - 54|
|Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Derryl Cousins, Second Base - Tim Timmons, Third Base - Chris Guccione|