CLEVELAND (AP) -- Paul Byrd sees signs of life in the Cleveland
"We had a little more enthusiasm," said Byrd (6-5). "I think
we can get on a roll. We have the type of team that can win 16 of
17. We can do that. I'm not saying it will happen, but it can."
The Indians will need more performances like Byrd's dominant
outing in order to get back into the AL Central race. Cleveland
entered play five games behind third-place Minnesota and 16 in back
of division leader Detroit.
"I think we can get on a roll," Byrd said. "The Angels in
2002 were sitting around .500 at the All-Star break and wound up
winning it all."
Byrd (6-5) improved to 2-3 in nine starts since May 3 with his
longest outing since signing with Cleveland as a free agent in
December. The right-hander gave up five hits and struck out four
without a walk. He has pitched at least six innings in 10
consecutive starts and has a 2.44 ERA over his last seven.
"He stepped up big," said manager Eric Wedge. "He's an
intense competitor and I can't say enough about the way he's
pitching right now.
"We need more guys to be honest with themselves and pick it up.
I'm sick of talking about it. I want to see them go out and do
Bob Wickman worked a perfect ninth to complete the five-hitter
as Cleveland won for only the second time in eight games -- all in
interleague play. The Reds fell to 4-11 since June 9, but lost for
only the third time in their last 13 road games.
"Offensively, you'll see a lot of zeroes in the box score, but
we hit a lot of balls right at them," Reds manager Jerry Narron
said. "I guess I'd rather have bloops than hard ones and get the
Hollandsworth put Cleveland ahead with a two-out, two-run homer
in the second inning off Bronson Arroyo (9-4). Victor Martinez drew
a one-out walk and Hollandsworth broke an 0-for-10 slump by lining
a 3-2 pitch just over the wall in right for his second homer.
"I had good stuff, my sinker was exceptional today, but
Hollandsworth's home run hurt us," Arroyo said.
Byrd said getting the lead gave him a boost.
"These guys have scored a lot of runs for me this year and
today was my turn to pick them up," he said. "Attitude has so
much to do with (success) in this game. At times, you feel snakebit
and are playing not to lose instead of playing to win.
"With a 2-0 lead, I had the option of going out and trying not
to walk people or stay aggressive and go after them. I tried to
throw strikes and stay ahead."
That was the Indians' only hit until Jhonny Peralta opened the
fourth with a soft single to left and went to third on a double to
left-center by Travis Hafner. Peralta scored on a groundout by
Martinez to make it 3-0.
Arroyo, coming off a 116-pitch complete game win over the Mets
on Monday, allowed three runs and five hits over six innings. The
right-hander walked two, struck out four and was helped out of
trouble in the sixth by a diving catch by centerfielder Ryan Freel.
With runners on first and third and two outs, Hollandsworth hit
3-2 pitch to shallow center. Freel, who had gone 5-for-5 at the
plate and made two good defensive plays at third base in the Reds'
3-0 win Friday night, raced in and made a backhanded dive. He
jumped up with the ball in his glove, but television replays showed
the ball skipped off the turf before Freel got to it.
"I couldn't tell if I caught it or not," Freel said. "I
thought it hit my thumb and rolled in (to his glove)."
Sizemore hit his 14th homer, on a 2-1 pitch from reliever Kent
Mercker in the seventh to make it 4-0.
The Reds have not defeated their state rivals in a series
since taking two of three in the first year of interleague play in
1997. Cleveland has gone 5-0-2 against the Reds since. ...
Cleveland has pitched seven shutouts and been blanked five times
this season. ... Freel was 1-for-4 and is hitting .515 (17-for-33)
in his last seven road games. ... Twelve of Sizemore's 14 homers
have come with the bases empty. ... Ben Broussard was back in the
lineup at first base after being benched for one day. He went
0-for-3 with runners in scoring position, dropping his average in
that situation to .377 (20-for-53).<