Marlins hurler still rusty after layoff

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jake Westbrook made sure the Cleveland Indians
bounced right back from a tough loss.

Westbrook pitched eight impressive innings and Casey Blake
homered to help Cleveland finally defeat the Florida Marlins 8-1
Wednesday night.

The Indians got past Florida for the first time since winning
Game 6 of the 1997 World Series. The Marlins won Game 7 in 11
innings, swept a three-game series at home in 2002 and took the
opener of this three-game set on two ninth-inning homers off the
foul pole at Jacobs Field.

"The resolve of these guys is impressive," Indians manager
Eric Wedge said. "They have proven it all season."

So has Westbrook (5-2), who began the year as the long man in
Cleveland's bullpen but is now 4-0 with a 2.85 ERA in seven
outings, including five starts, at home.

"He was very tough, very impressive," Marlins manager Jack
McKeon said.

Westbrook got 16 groundouts. The right-hander allowed one run
and six hits in his first appearance against the Marlins. He struck
out four without a walk.

"I felt good, strong," Westbrook said. "All my pitches were
working and I threw strikes."

Miguel Cabrera ruined Westbrook's bid for his first career
shutout by hitting a 446-foot homer, his 15th, to left-center
leading off the seventh.

"To go eight and only make one mistake, that's pretty good,"
Westbrook said.

Wedge is pleased that Westbrook is finally pitching with
consistency after three seasons of bouncing between the bullpen and
starting rotation.

"Jake has pitched well in short stretches like this, but he's
learned a lot the last couple of years," Wedge said. "We liked
him in the bullpen, too, but as fate would have it, he's done the
job as a starter."

Westbrook has worked at least six innings in seven of his eight

Lou Pote pitched a perfect ninth for Cleveland.

Jody Gerut had three of Cleveland's 13 hits off three Marlins
pitchers, but was more impressed by Westbrook.

"He's a pleasure to watch -- poetry in motion," Gerut said.
"He works fast and makes it fun to play defense behind him. He was
pretty nasty tonight."

The Indians took a 5-0 lead in the third inning against A.J.
Burnett (0-2). Gerut had an RBI single, Travis Hafner a two-run
double and Blake a two-run homer, his eighth. The Indians went
5-for-5 with runners in scoring position in the inning.

Ben Broussard hit a two-run double and Ronnie Belliard drove in
another run with a sacrifice fly in a three-run fifth for an 8-0

Burnett gave up eight runs and 12 hits in 4 1-3 innings, losing
for the first time in 10 interleague starts. He is 6-1 against AL
teams, including six shutout innings against Cleveland in 2002 in
his only previous appearance against the Indians.

"Those guys came out swinging," Burnett said. "I went after
them and they went after me."

It was the most hits and runs allowed in a game by Burnett in
his career. The right-hander also walked two and struck out three
in just his second start since he had elbow ligament replacement
surgery in April 2003.

"I'm healthy," he said. "My arm feels good, but it is time to
start putting up numbers."

McKeon said that should come with more work.

"Stuff-wise, he's fine," McKeon said. "Velocity-wise, he's
there. It's just his command. This is like spring training for

Game notes
McKeon is more than double the age of Wedge, who is 36.
McKeon is 73, and the 37-year difference in age is the most by
opposing managers singe 87-year-old Connie Mack of the Philadelphia
Athletics faced Detroit's Red Rolfe, 41, in 1950. ... Cleveland
improved to 22-15 against right-handed starters. ... Marlins 2B
Luis Castillo extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He's batting
.349 (15-for-43) during the streak. ... Blake is 15-for-32 (.469)
with two homers and seven RBI during an eight-game hitting streak.
... Burnett is 0-4 with a 5.64 ERA in 10 starts since his last win,
Aug. 18, 2002, against San Francisco.