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Cleveland 10, Tampa Bay 0

5/16/2004

CLEVELAND (AP) -- C.C. Sabathia felt a bit strange pitching with
such a big lead.

Sabathia (2-1) worked seven sharp innings as the Cleveland
Indians routed the struggling Tampa Bay Devil Rays 10-0 Sunday to
complete a three-game sweep.

"Actually, I prefer pitching in tight games," Sabathia said.
"I get that many runs, I'm afraid I'll get too relaxed and my mind
starts to wander."

Sabathia, who has lost four potential wins this year when the
bullpen blew leads, gave up five hits, struck out six and improved
to 5-0 in five career starts against Tampa Bay.

Travis Hafner and Ben Broussard each drove in four runs as the
Indians won their fourth in a row and fifth in six games since a
five-game losing streak. Hafner hit two-run doubles in the fifth
and sixth, and Broussard hit a pair of two-run singles.

Jody Gerut's career-high hitting streak was snapped at 17 games.
He drew four walks, then struck out in the eighth against
ex-Indians reliever Danys Baez.

"It's frustrating, shoot," Gerut said. "The plan is to get a
pitch to hit and put a swing on it. I had to stay disciplined. You
don't improve your chances of getting a hit by swinging wild at
something."

Matt Miller, called up Friday from Triple-A Buffalo, struck out
five in the final two innings.

Tampa Bay was shut out for the sixth time this year in its 17th
loss in 20 games, and didn't look good doing it.

Cleveland scored six unearned runs in the fifth, helped by two
Devil Rays errors, three walks and one mental mistake.

"That was awesome," said Sabathia, who lowered his ERA to
2.03. "I felt good today, but even better after that inning."

Alex Escobar started it with a slicing drive off Doug Waechter
(1-4) that faded away from right fielder Jose Cruz Jr. for a
triple.

One out later, Matt Lawton hit a bouncer to first baseman Tino
Martinez, who had Escobar caught off third. But Martinez
double-clutched, then threw wildly, allowing Escobar to score and
Lawton to go to second.

"I made a bad decision," Martinez said. "It was my fault,
period. If I don't make that error, it's a different ballgame."

Lawton scored on a fly to short center by Ronnie Belliard that
Rocco Baldelli dropped for an error as he tried to avoid second
baseman Rey Sanchez.

"The wind was carrying it in," Baldelli explained. "Whether
the wind blew it or not, that play has to be made."

Gerut then drew his third consecutive walk, Victor Martinez
walked to load the bases, and Hafner hit a two-run double.

Martinez rounded third on the play and should've been an easy
out. Third baseman Geoff Blum apparently thought Martinez had
scored, however, and caught the ball with his back to the plate and
simply stood on the bag as the runner scrambled back to the base
safely.

Waechter wouldn't blame his defense, however.

"A lot of things happened in that inning," he said, "but I
need to take the ball and get another out."

Casey Blake walked against reliever Jorge Sosa to load the bases
again and Broussard hit a two-run single off the wall in left that
Damian Rolls had a play on, but failed to catch.

Broussard singled in two more in the eighth.

Waechter lost his fourth straight start. He gave up four hits
and six unearned runs in 4 1-3 innings, walking four and striking
out five.

Game notes
Tampa Bay pitchers walked nine for a three-game total of
25. ... One walk was to Gerut with two outs in the first, though
Waechter threw only three pitches out of the strike zone. With a
3-2 count, umpire Larry Poncino saw the right-hander put his
pitching hand to his mouth while on the mound and called ball four.
... The Indians have scored six or more runs in seven of eight
games. ... Tampa Bay fell to 3-17 on the road and 7-21 all-time at
Jacobs Field. ... Indians SS Omar Vizquel missed his second
straight game with a respiratory infection.