CLEVELAND (AP) -- Grady Sizemore didn't feel very good until his
"Until then, it was a pretty bad day," said Sizemore, who was
0-for-5 with four strikeouts before the base hit. "Nobody wants to
strike out, but I had to try and put all that behind me."
The Indians won for the fifth time in six games and improved to
17-4 in interleague play the past two years. The Pirates fell to
4-19 on the road and have won just two of their last 15 games
played in American League ballparks.
"I was going to try and score Boonie, but the ball hit the tarp
and bounced back, so we held him," third-base coach Jeff Datz
said. "Then Grady came through against a tough left-hander."
Sizemore came to the plate with a .191 (13-for-68) average
against lefties, but lined a 3-2 pitch over the head of right
fielder Jeromy Burnitz to win it.
Wickman (1-0) earned his first win since working a scoreless
inning against Texas on Aug. 10, 2002 -- when he tore a ligament in
his right elbow that required Tommy John surgery.
"I was just talking about that the other day," said Wickman,
who missed all of 2003 and the first half of 2004 before going a
combined 0-6 with 58 saves the past two seasons.
He also worked two innings for the first time since July 7,
2001, also in an interleague game against St. Louis.
"This was the perfect time to do it with an off day tomorrow,"
he said. "I feel fine. Pitching is pitching. I used to be a
starter and middle reliever, so no big deal."
Hernandez was 3-for-7 with two homers and five RBI against
Wickman, but manager Jim Tracy ordered the former Indians infielder
to bunt anyway.
"I was aware of the numbers, but right now Jose is not swinging
that well," Tracy said of Hernandez, who is batting only .149.
"It was important to try and get the runner to third and force the
Indians to make many decisions."
Wickman was thinking right along with Tracy.
"I figured Jose would bunt and I was going over in my mind who
I wanted to walk to keep the double play in order," Wickman said.
"Then with two strikes on Castillo, I spun him with a breaking
ball and Jhonny (Peralta) and Ronnie turned it."
Pittsburgh's Nate McLouth had three hits, scored twice, and made
a spectacular diving catch in center field to rob Boone of a hit
with a runner on second in the eighth, keeping it tied at 2.
Jason Michaels had two hits and scored twice for Cleveland.
The Indians tied it at 2 in the seventh. Michaels singled with
one out and scored on Peralta's double off the wall in right.
Maholm struck out seven over 5 1-3 innings. The left-hander
allowed one run and four hits -- all doubles -- walked three and hit
two batters with pitches.
Indians right-hander Paul Byrd struck out four in seven innings
and didn't walk a batter. He gave up two runs and six hits.
OF Jose Bautista was placed on the Pirates' bereavement
list and returned to the Dominican Republic for the funeral of his
grandmother. INF Yurendell DeCaster was called up from Triple-A
Indianapolis and made his big league debut as a pinch runner in the
ninth. ... Byrd threw 73 of 94 pitches for strikes. ...
Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez has 12 RBI during a 12-game hitting
streak. ... The three-game series drew a total of 94,887 fans.