Devil Rays have lost seven straight road games


CLEVELAND (AP) -- Victor Martinez seems to enjoy batting cleanup
for the Cleveland Indians.

Martinez drove in a career-high five runs and the Indians held
on to defeat Tampa Bay 9-7 on Saturday, extending the Devil Rays'
road losing streak to seven games.

"Victor thrives in RBI situations," Indians manager Eric Wedge
said. "He had one of the best at-bats of the season."

That came when Martinez fouled off several pitches before lining
an opposite-field, three-run double in a four-run second inning.

"I saw the way they were pitching me," Martinez said of his
drive to left-center. "They didn't throw anything inside, they
worked fastballs and sinkers away, away, so I just went with it."

Martinez had an RBI double in the third and added a sacrifice
fly. He had a chance for more RBI in the seventh, but was
intentionally walked with runners on second and third.

The switch-hitting catcher finished 2-for-3 and has 18 RBI in
11 games since being moved into the cleanup spot.

"It's just another spot in the lineup," said Martinez, batting
.270 with six homers and 27 RBI overall. "Whether I am hitting
fourth, seventh or eighth, I try to put a swing on the ball. Then
anything can happen."

Jake Westbrook (3-1) gave up five runs and eight hits in 6 1-3
innings. The right-hander improved to 3-0 in four starts since
beginning the year in the bullpen.

"I wasn't as sharp, but it sure does help when the offense gets
so many runs," Westbrook said. "When I got in trouble, I tried to
limit it."

Jose Jimenez allowed consecutive two-out RBI singles in the
ninth to Julio Lugo and Aubrey Huff before getting Rocco Baldelli
to ground out to end it.

The Devil Rays dropped to 3-16 on the road. Tampa Bay has lost
11 straight road series since taking two of three games in Seattle
on Aug. 26-28. Since the start of last season, Tampa Bay is 30-70
on the road.

"The amazing thing is we're starting to swing the bats better
and now we're having problems on the pitching side," Tampa Bay
manager Lou Piniella said. "The only other thing that can go wrong
once we start hitting and pitching together is our fielding."

Matt Lawton gave the Indians a fast start with a leadoff homer
in the first against Victor Zambrano (3-4). Martinez's sacrifice
fly later in the inning made it 2-0.

Robert Fick made it 2-1 with a sac fly in the second.

The Indians took a five-run lead in the bottom of the second.
After Martinez's three-run double, Cleveland loaded the bases and
scored when reliever Travis Harper hit Ben Broussard in the left
foot with a pitch.

Huff and Baldelli hit consecutive RBI doubles in the third to
bring Tampa Bay within 6-3.

Jody Gerut and Martinez made it a five-run lead again with
consecutive RBI doubles in the bottom half.

"We left a lot of runners on base (13), but scoring nine runs
ain't bad," said Gerut, who went 2-for-3 and stretched his
career-high hitting streak to 17 games. "I'll take that. The
offense is clicking."

Jose Cruz Jr. lined Westbrook's first pitch of the fourth into
Tampa Bay's bullpen for his fifth homer to make it 8-4.

Brook Fordyce doubled to open the seventh for Tampa Bay,
advanced on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch by Westbrook.

Pinch-hitter Lou Merloni was hit by the first pitch from Tampa
Bay reliever Trever Miller with the bases loaded in the seventh to
make it 9-5.

Zambrano gave up six runs and four hits over 1 1-3 innings. He
tied a career high with seven walks, and had a few words for plate
umpire Gerry Davis when he left.

"What happened out there was my fault," Zambrano said. "I was
fighting with my mechanics and I'm not going to talk about that."

Game notes
Rain delayed the start for 1 hour, 15 minutes. ...
Cleveland lefty Cliff Bartosh struck out three in 1 2-3 hitless
innings in his major league debut. ... Cleveland has scored in the
first inning in 10 of its last 12 games. ... The Indians have
outscored opponents 29-7 in the second inning overall. ... Indians
OF Coco Crisp left six runners stranded in the first two innings.
... The Indians drew 12 walks for the first time since 1996. The 12
walks tied a Devil Rays team record for the most given up in a
game. ... Lugo is 7-for-14 with four doubles and eight RBI in his
last three games.