Series: Game 1 of 3

Cleveland leads 1-0 (as of 8/26)

Game 1: Friday, August 26
Game 2: Saturday, August 27
Game 3: Sunday, August 28

Indians 9

(72-57, 40-26 away)

Blue Jays 3

(64-64, 34-26 home)

    7:07 PM ET, August 26, 2005

    Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario 

    123456789 R H E
    CLE 301000014 9 16 0
    TOR 100110000 3 8 3

    W: C. Sabathia (11-9)

    L: D. McGowan (1-2)

    Tribal dance: Indians stay hot with win over Blue Jays

    TORONTO (AP) -- Travis Hafner had no idea Grady Sizemore was going to steal home during his at-bat. He just knew not to swing.

    Hafner took a two-strike pitch as Sizemore stole home, and Hafner later hit the first of his two homers as Cleveland beat the Toronto Blue Jays 9-3 Friday night for the Indians' eighth win in nine games.

    Sizemore got off to a huge lead from third in the first inning and broke for home before Dustin McGowan (1-2) started his windup. Catcher Guillermo Quiroz didn't attempt a tag as Sizemore easily slid in safely for Cleveland's first straight steal of home since Omar Vizquel at Detroit on May 27, 2003.

    "I didn't know what he was doing. I thought maybe he had to run to the bathroom or something," Hafner joked. "If I had swung and hit Grady in the face I would have had every woman in America mad at me."

    Sizemore was worried Hafner would kill him.

    "I'm sure Hafner was ragging on me after I stole his RBI," Sizemore said.

    Hafner went for it after noticing the third baseman wasn't even close to third and seeing that he could get a huge lead. He told third base coach Joel Skinner that he could do it the pitch before.

    "Throughout the at-bat I just kept going farther and farther," Sizemore said. "I wanted to see how much they would let me have before they stopped me. They never did, and I told Skins, `I can take this."

    C.C. Sabathia, who won his fifth straight start, said it pumped up the Indians.

    "That was crazy," Sabathia said. "It definitely helped Travis out because the guy left a changeup high a couple of pitches later."

    Hafner hit a solo shot off McGowan and added a two-run homer off Justin Speier in the ninth, his second two-homer game this season and the seventh multihomer game of his career.

    Victor Martinez and Ronnie Belliard also homered for the Indians, who are less than a percentage point back of the New York Yankees and Oakland in the AL wild card race. The Indians are a major league-best 18-6 since July 31.

    Martinez had four hits, including a solo homer off McGowan in the third, and scored four runs.

    Sabathia (11-9) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings, striking out seven. He hasn't lost since July 30.

    "He battled even though he didn't have good command of his fastball," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.

    Toronto has lost seven of eight. Before the game, the team announced ace Roy Halladay will not pitch again this season after breaking his leg July 8. The Blue Jays also are missing left-hander Ted Lilly.

    McGowan, who replaced Lilly in the rotation, allowed four runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. In his previous start, the rookie gave up a career-worst 12 runs in 4 1-3 innings against Detroit.

    Sizemore led off the game with a single, advanced on a grounder and wild pitch before stealing home.

    "You don't expect a guy to steal with two strikes," McGowan said. "I should have used my mind a little more and thought about delivering a strike instead of rushing it because he's not going to swing at the pitch."

    Hafner homered and Ben Broussard added an RBI single for a 3-0 lead.

    Vernon Wells hit an RBI grounder in the bottom half, but Martinez's homer made it 4-1 in the third.

    Run-scoring singles by Frank Menechino in the fourth and Alex Rios in the fifth cut the lead to 4-3. Aaron Boone had an RBI infield single in the eighth, and Hafner and Belliard hit two-run homers off Speier in the ninth.

    Game notes

    After Halladay was struck in the left shin by a line drive off the bat of Texas' Kevin Mench, Toronto initially thought he would miss four to six weeks. ... Broussard missed an easy popup in foul territory near first base in the sixth.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press