David Dellucci broke a tie with a three-run homer in a wild sixth inning, leading Cleveland to a testy 7-3 victory over the Marlins on Wednesday night. His shot capped a six-run inning by the Indians, who entered the frame scoreless in their past 26 innings away from home.
"I've seen some weird things," Dellucci said. "But I've learned over the years you've never seen it all."
Indeed, the sixth was abnormal.
The Marlins started the inning up 3-0. Over the next 29 minutes, they matched a season high by allowing six runs, made two costly errors and had reliever Taylor Tankersley, first baseman Aaron Boone and Gonzalez ejected after Tankersley hit Grady Sizemore in the back with a two-strike pitch.
Both dugouts got warnings from plate umpire Brian Knight one inning earlier, after the benches cleared when Cliff Lee hit Marlins slugger Miguel Cabrera with a pitch.
"I was trying to throw fastballs in," Lee said. "I wasn't trying to hit him. I don't think he was pleased with it. ... There was some weird things going on."
After Sizemore was plunked, Tankersley and Gonzalez were immediately ejected. Boone got tossed for arguing.
Travis Hafner and Jhonny Peralta scored the first two runs when Marlins second baseman Dan Uggla stopped Trot Nixon's grounder, but threw the ball past Boone and into the dugout for an error. That snapped the long road scoring drought by the Indians, who batted .143 as a team during that stretch. Mike Rouse then reached when his fly ball bounced out of right fielder Jeremy Hermida's glove.
"I catch that ball, and things turn out a little different," Hermida said. "There's no excuses. I've got to come up with that."
After Nixon scored on Ryan Garko's groundout, Gonzalez pulled starter Byung-Hyun Kim (3-3) and summoned Tankersley to face Sizemore.
"It was totally unintentional that I hit him and unfortunate that it happened," Tankersley said.
After Tankersley was ejected, Lee Gardner -- called up earlier in the day when Florida put Henry Owens on the 15-day disabled list -- came on. Gardner's first batter was Dellucci, who connected for his fourth homer of the year.
"Just because an opportunity is created for you, it doesn't mean you're going to take advantage of them," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "Tonight, we did."
Victor Martinez and Hafner each had two hits for Cleveland, which won at Florida for the first time since Game 6 of the 1997 World Series. Lee (3-4) allowed three hits and struck out six in five innings for his first win in five starts.
The win, combined with Detroit's 3-2 loss to Milwaukee, put the Indians one game ahead of the Tigers and alone atop the AL Central. Casey Blake extended his hitting streak to 22 games with a third-inning single for Cleveland.
Hanley Ramirez had two hits, including a two-run double in the first inning, for the Marlins. Reggie Abercrombie and Matt Treanor each had two hits for Florida.
Cleveland made it 7-3 in the eighth when Sizemore scored on a fielder's choice by Martinez.
Kim was charged with four runs -- one earned -- in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out a season-high eight.
Florida got three runs in the first. Abercrombie led off with a single, Uggla walked and Ramirez's double drove in both. Ramirez then stole third and scored on Josh Willingham's double-play grounder.
"Strange game," Gonzalez said with a shrug.
Kim threw behind Dellucci in the third inning, drawing no warning. It appeared the ball slipped out of his hand. ... Gonzalez was ejected for the second time. ... Hafner reached in the seventh when his popup landed between C Treanor and 3B Cabrera -- who darted glances at each other as the ball dropped in front of the mound. ... Florida fell to 8-1 when Abercrombie leads off.