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Seattle at Cleveland

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Seattle (13-15)000000300391
Cleveland (13-15) «20015000x8110

Indians' Lee improves to 5-0, maintains league-best ERA

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- A year ago Cliff Lee was sent to the minors and didn't make the Indians' postseason roster.

Through the first month of this season, his story couldn't be any different.

"He's probably one of the best pitchers going right now," Seattle manager John McLaren said after Lee won his fifth straight start, leading the Indians to an 8-3 win on Wednesday night.

Lee's consecutive scoreless innings streak ended at 27 on Wladimir Balentien's three-run homer in the seventh. That raised his ERA from 0.28 to 0.96, still lowest in the majors.

"I try to put up zeros every inning," Lee said. "It had to come to an end eventually."

Lee (5-0 was pulled after the homer, the only runs he allowed in six innings. The left-hander has given up four earned runs in 37 2/3 innings in his five starts.

Prior to Balentien's homer, Lee hadn't allowed an earned run since the fourth inning against Oakland on April 13.

"You wouldn't ever expect that from anyone at this level," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "This is the highest level of baseball in the world. It's pretty special."

Franklin Gutierrez drove in three runs on an RBI single in the fourth and a two-run single in the fifth.

Seattle starter Jarrod Washburn (1-4) allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings for his third straight loss.

After going 46-24 from 2004-06, Lee struggled to an 5-8 record and 6.29 ERA last season. He was sent to Triple-A Buffalo in July and had to win the fifth starter's spot over Aaron Laffey and Jeremy Sowers in spring training.

"We've won every time I've pitched," Lee said. "That's the goal. I'm happy."

So is his manager.

"Sometimes when guys go through tough times, they find out a lot about themselves," Wedge said.

"He's been a good pitcher in the past," McLaren said. "I don't know what happened last year."

The slumbering Indians offense finally woke up. Grady Sizemore homered in the first, the 12th time in his career he has led off a game with a home run. Ryan Garko added a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.

After Gutierrez made it 3-0, the Indians put it away with a five-run fifth. Victor Martinez and Casey Blake had RBI doubles, Gutierrez drove in two with a single and Jason Michaels added a sacrifice fly.

Martinez extended his hitting streak to 12 games and is now hitting .366. His five plate appearances qualifies him for the league lead in batting average.

Balentien, along with catcher Jeff Clement, were called up from Triple-A Tacoma before the game. Outfielder Brad Wilkerson and infielder Greg Norton were designated for assignment.

It was an especially long day for Balentien, who started in right field after he and Clement caught a 6 a.m. flight from Tacoma. The two also dealt with a bumpy landing when they arrived in Cleveland.

"I think it was lucky we didn't blow all the tires out," Balentien said.

Prior to the game, McLaren said Balentien would be the Mariners' everyday right fielder.

"It was a quality pitch," Lee said. "I put the first two guys on. I got behind him and I didn't want to walk him. I tip my hat to him."

"It was a fastball away," Balentien said. "I hit it well."

Notes

  • Lee is 6-1 in nine career games against Seattle.
  • DH Travis Hafner, in a 7-for-51 slump, didn't play for the Indians. Martinez moved to the third spot and Ryan Garko, who didn't play Tuesday, batted cleanup. Garko was 0-for-1 with a sacrifice fly, a walk and a hit by pitch. He's hitless in his last 24 at-bats.
  • Ichiro threw out Casey Blake at the plate in the fourth inning.
  • Martinez hosted twin brothers from Honduras at the game. The Duarte-Fuentes brothers, Jose Alfredo and Jose Luis, were burned in an accident in their home when they were six months old. The brothers, now 15, had surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in December. By winning an online fan vote as the Indians' MVP last season sponsored by Continental Airlines, Martinez was awarded frequent flyer miles and donated them to the twins, who had follow-up surgery at the Clinic last week.
 
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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Cliff Lee continues his red-hot start to the '08 season by notching his fifth win in a row.  (AP)
Cliff Lee continues his red-hot start to the '08 season by notching his fifth win in a row. (AP)

Players of the Game
Seattle

W. Balentien
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
Cleveland

C. Lee
IP 6.0
H 8
ER 3
BB 0
K 3
 
Seattle Mariners
Ichiro Suzuki, CF4000002 .252
Jose Lopez, 2B4010000 .313
Raul Ibanez, LF4010010 .291
Adrian Beltre, 3B3000112 .299
Jose Vidro, DH4110023 .211
Richie Sexson, 1B4120010 .219
Wladimir Balentien, RF4123001 .500
Kenji Johjima, C3000001 .177
    Jeff Clement, C10100001.000
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS4010001 .301
Totals3539315  
Batting
HR - Wladimir Balentien (1, Lee)
RBI - Wladimir Balentien 3 (3)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Ichiro Suzuki 1
DP - Beltre-J. Lopez-Sexson
E - Adrian Beltre (5, Throwing)
Seattle Mariners
Jarrod Washburn (L,1-4) 4.1665271 4.86
Cha Seung Baek 2.2422000 6.43
Ryan Rowland-Smith 1100200 4.32
HBP - Garko (by Jarrod Washburn)
Pitches-Strikes - Jarrod Washburn 102-61, Cha Seung Baek 55-39, Ryan Rowland-Smith 20-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jarrod Washburn 2-4, Cha Seung Baek 5-3, Ryan Rowland-Smith 1-1
Batters Faced - Jarrod Washburn 22, Cha Seung Baek 12, Ryan Rowland-Smith 5
Cleveland Indians
Grady Sizemore, CF3221210 .287
Jamey Carroll, 2B5110015 .216
Victor Martinez, 1B5121012 .366
Ryan Garko, DH1201101 .225
Casey Blake, 3B4111011 .217
Franklin Gutierrez, RF4123011 .276
Kelly Shoppach, C4020002 .306
Jason Michaels, LF3011002 .207
Asdrubal Cabrera, SS3000123 .200
Totals32811847  
Batting
2B - Grady Sizemore (5, Baek), Victor Martinez (5, Washburn), Casey Blake (6, Baek), Kelly Shoppach (2, Baek), Jason Michaels (4, Rowland-Smith)
HR - Grady Sizemore (3, Washburn)
SF - Ryan Garko (1), Jason Michaels (3)
RBI - Grady Sizemore (13), Victor Martinez (10), Ryan Garko (13), Casey Blake (19), Franklin Gutierrez 3 (12), Jason Michaels (9)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - A. Cabrera-Carroll-Martinez
Cleveland Indians
Cliff Lee (W,5-0) 6833031 0.96
Jensen Lewis 2000110 3.71
Jorge Julio 1100010 3.65
Pitches-Strikes - Cliff Lee 97-64, Jensen Lewis 25-14, Jorge Julio 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Cliff Lee 8-6, Jensen Lewis 1-4
Batters Faced - Cliff Lee 25, Jensen Lewis 7, Jorge Julio 4
Game Information
Attendance - 15279
Game Time - 2:49
Temperature - 47
Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - Mike Everitt, Third Base - Tim McClelland