Pitching quickly and efficiently in the wind and cold, Lee helped the Cleveland Indians end the A's five-game winning streak with a 7-1 victory Sunday.
"It was miserable, wasn't fun, and as cold as it's ever been for me playing ball," Oakland second baseman Mark Ellis said. "The hardest part was when the wind kicked up. You didn't want to be on defense too long."
Two-run doubles by Grady Sizemore and David Dellucci in the eighth helped the Indians win for only the third time in 10 games and avoid their first three-game sweep at home to the Athletics since September 1989.
After a 48-minute delay at the start, Lee (2-0) repeatedly got his teammates out of the cold -- 38 degrees with a 28-degree wind chill at gametime -- and back into Cleveland's warm dugout, allowing only one run and two hits in eight innings. The left-hander struck out eight without a walk, working in an intermittent wind-whipped mix of snow and rain.
"It didn't bother me, but I definitely wouldn't want to be a hitter today," Lee said. "I just tried to throw a strike and hopefully they'd try to hit a home run. It wasn't going out in that wind."
Indians manager Eric Wedge explained the delay, even though it didn't rain, was due to a foreboding forecast.
"We really lucked out," Wedge said. "It was swirling all around, supposed to hit at 11:30 (a.m.), then a little later. We didn't want both starting pitchers to warm up, then have to sit. We finally just decided to go out and try it."
Lee didn't mind waiting to make his second straight strong start against the A's. On April 6 in Oakland, he yielded four hits and an unearned run over 6 2/3 innings in a 2-1 victory. That win was his first since July 1 -- during a season in which the former 18-game winner started on the disabled list with an abdominal strain, then went only 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA. He even was sent back to the minors to try and regain the form that had won 44 games during the previous three seasons.
"I had a bad year and I've been anxious to get back and give my team a chance to win games," Lee said. "Facing them twice in a row, I knew what it took to be successful. Then again, they had a fresh scouting report on me, too. At the start, I said, 'Let's attack them the same way.' And it worked."
Lee retired the first nine Oakland batters before Travis Buck tripled between first baseman Ryan Garko and the foul line to open the fourth. Buck scored on a weak ground single by Ellis. Shortstop Jhonny Peralta tried to make a bare-handed scoop and throw, but couldn't handle the ball.
Lee then got Daric Barton to hit into a double play and retired the last 15 men he faced.
A favorable bounce could have turned either Oakland hit into an out.
"I'd love to throw a no-hitter or perfect game," Lee said. "Right now, it's more important for me to just get some wins."
Travis Hafner's two-run single with two outs in the third, the first hit of the game, gave Cleveland a 2-0 lead against Chad Gaudin (0-1). It scored Jamey Carroll, who was hit by a pitch, and Sizemore, who walked.
An error by Gaudin helped make it 3-1 in the fifth. Carroll singled and Gaudin bobbled a sacrifice by Andy Marte, then threw wildly to first, sending Carroll to third. Sizemore followed with an RBI single to center.
"Chad battled, kept us in the game," Oakland manager Bob Geren said. "Three runs (allowed) is usually enough, but not with Lee today."
- The A's have made at least one error in six straight games, their longest streak since doing it six in a row, July 9-17, 2006.
- Buck has eight hits this season -- a single, triple and six doubles.
- Indians starters went 0-3 with a 16.76 ERA during the previous three games. All three starters (Paul Byrd, C.C. Sabathia and Fausto Carmona), did not last more than 3 1/3 innings. The last time that happened was Sept. 25-27, 1987, when Tom Candiotti, Rich Yett and Ken Schrom did it against the Angels.
- Oakland fell to 5-1 on the road.