ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians' hottest pitcher helped
them finally get off on the right foot.
Jason Marquis of the Cardinals has allowed 20 earned runs in 11 innings over his last two starts, ballooning his ERA from 4.55 to 5.82. Since the end of World War II, only two other pitchers have allowed 20 earned runs over two starts: Jose Lima in 2000 (21, 12/9) and Mike Oquist in 1998 (20, 6/14).• For more Elias Says, Click here.
Cliff Lee worked six strong innings to win his fourth game this
month and keep his perfect interleague record intact, and Travis
Hafner homered twice in a 10-3 victory over the sagging St. Louis
Cardinals on Monday night.The win snapped a string of 10 straight losses in series openers
dating to May 23."I didn't even realize that, to be honest with you," Lee said.
"I just wanted to go out there and pitch my game and go with the
scouting report we had on the guys."Jhonny Peralta hit a tiebreaking two-run triple in the fifth for
the Indians, who also got homers from Grady Sizemore and Todd
Hollandsworth and won for only the fourth time in 13 games. The
Indians are 1-8-1 in their last 10 series, losing the last seven."This is a good start for us and that's the way we've got to
look at it," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "This will get the
monkey off their back."The Cardinals have lost seven in a row for the first time since
2002. Manager Tony La Russa prefaced his postgame news conference
with these words: "Go on, punish me. Let's go.""We're not having fun," La Russa said. "Most of the games
aren't close. It's a real struggle, but they're in the book."Jason Marquis (9-6) was battered for the second straight start,
allowing seven runs in six innings. He gave up three of the homers
and has allowed seven in his last two outings to tie for the major
league lead with 19.In the last two games, he has allowed 20 earned runs in 11
innings."I felt great, I had a lot of life on my ball," Marquis said.
"A couple of times, bad pitch selection, and a couple of times bad
pitch location."Lee (7-5) gave up two runs and eight hits with five strikeouts
and two walks and is 6-0 with a 3.27 ERA against the NL, including
a victory over the Chicago Cubs in his last start. He's 4-0 with a
3.09 ERA in five June starts, one of the lone bright spots for a
team that's only 8-15 this month."About the last month or so he's been the Cliff we expect to
see out there," Wedge said of Lee, an 18-game winner last year.
"That's what we want to keep seeing."Victor Martinez added two hits and an RBI for the Indians.
Hafner, who leads the team with 21 homers, is batting .371
(13-for-35) during a nine-game hitting streak."He's right up there with Pujols, one of the best hitters in
baseball," Lee said. "For him to have a game like that doesn't
surprise me at all."Scott Rolen and So Taguchi each had three hits and an RBI for
the Cardinals, who have been outscored 64-27 during an
all-interleague losing streak. The NL Central leaders' slump is
their worst since July 31-Aug. 7, 2002, and they're coming off
their first winless two-city trip since 1997.They are also 0-5 since Albert Pujols returned from an injury
after going 8-7 without him.Sizemore's 15th homer was a two-run shot in the third for the
game's first runs. The Cardinals tied it on RBI singles by Rolen in
the third and Taguchi in the fourth before the Indians took
control.Peralta's two-run triple off the right-field wall made it 4-2
and Hafner followed with his first homer. Hollandsworth led off the
sixth with his third for a 7-2 cushion and Hafner hit his second in
the ninth to make it 10-3.
Sizemore was thrown out trying to steal in the first by C
Yadier Molina, then walked and stole second in the seventh. Molina
is 10-for-25 against base stealers on the year and Sizemore has 13
steals in 15 attempts. ... Lee induced three foul outs to C
Martinez and could have had a fourth, but Martinez dropped David
Eckstein's pop-up near the plate for an error in the sixth. ... The
Cardinals are 43-23 at home in interleague play, but 2-5 against
the Indians at home and 3-9 overall against Cleveland.