Byrd gets first win in month as Tribe trounce A's

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Aaron Boone stared at the floor before summing up Cleveland's recent string of lopsided games in one word.

"Weird," he said.

Paul Byrd won for the first time in more than a month, Victor Martinez had four RBI and Boone got things started with a three-run homer, sending the Indians to an 11-2 win over the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.

Team Yo-Yo bounced back again.

Now if only Cleveland could keep going in the right direction.

In their last 13 games, the Indians have won four times by at least nine runs -- 11-0, 9-0, 14-2 and 11-2 -- and also lost by scores of 11-0, 10-3 and 14-2.

"We would like to keep going this way and eliminate the other ones," Boone said. "It is bizarre. Every time we're in one, I'm on the bench going, 'Gosh, we've played in a lot of these.'"

Byrd (5-4) allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings while picking up his first victory since beating the A's on May 3. Since then, the right-hander had gone 0-2 with three no-decisions, although Byrd probably deserved a better fate in two of those starts.

Boone connected for his three-run homer off Joe Blanton (5-6) in
the second and Grady Sizemore hit a solo shot two pitches later for the up-and-down Indians (29-29), who have gotten to .500 seven times in the past 17 games only to fall back on five occasions.

"I keep feeling like we're going to get on a big roll," Byrd said. "We blow out a team and then we come back and get blown out the next day. It has been a very strange year."

Martinez and Casey Blake hit solo homers and Ben Broussard drove in two runs for Cleveland, which was plagued by one-run losses a year ago. The Indians went 22-36 in those games in 2005 and spent the offseason searching for answers to the problem.

This year it's a new dilemma: Keeping games manageable.

"I wish I could put my finger on it," Byrd said.

On a night when "Pronkville," the second level of seats in right field, was dedicated in his honor, Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner -- nicknamed "Pronk" -- went 0-for-3 with two walks.

Blanton tossed a five-hit shutout in his previous start against Kansas City. He gave up five hits in the second inning alone Wednesday when the Indians scored four times on the back-to-back homers by Boone and Sizemore.

Jhonny Peralta singled with one out and Blake walked. One out later, Boone's drive down the left-field line clanged off the foul pole, giving Cleveland's third baseman his first homer in 133 at-bats since April 19.

"It hit the foul pole. Two inches over, and I've got another shot at him," Blanton said.

Sizemore followed with a 427-foot shot into the picnic tables in center, his 12th homer and third in four games. Last year, Sizemore didn't connect for home run No. 12 until Aug. 7 on his way to hitting 22.

The Indians went ahead 6-0 in the fourth, loading the bases on a single and a pair of two-out walks before Martinez came through with a two-run single.

Byrd wasn't in any trouble until the sixth, giving up three straight one-out singles before walking Frank Thomas to force in a run. Byrd then got a lucky break as Bobby Kielty hit a grounder to shortstop Peralta, who began to flip the ball to second baseman Ronnie Belliard before deciding to make the force himself.

However, Peralta clearly stepped short of the bag and threw the ball to first. He got the double play anyway, though, as second base umpire James Hoye -- after taking a long look -- signaled the out.

"He didn't step on the bag," Kielty said. "He definitely didn't. But that happens. I can't really complain."

Cleveland added three runs in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk to Martinez and Broussard's two-run single.

Martinez hit his seventh homer in the eighth off Steve Karsay.

Game notes
Belliard made the night's defensive gem, diving to stop pinch-hitter Adam Melhuse's hard grounder before scrambling to recover the ball and throwing to first from his knees for the out. ... The A's are in a 6-12 funk. ... Oakland outfielder Milton Bradley,
playing for the first time in Cleveland since being traded by the Indians in 2004, removed his helmet and playfully tipped it to the crowd before his at-bat in the second. ... The A's are 10-14 in one-run games, most in the AL. ... Pronkville was rocking each time Hafner came to the plate. Fans stood and waved signs, one of which said: "I Want To Be Mrs. Pronk." ... Oakland third baseman Eric Chavez was a
late scratch with back spasms. His replacement, Antonio Perez went
0-for-3 and is 1-for-32 (.031) this season.