Sabathia overcomes HRs as Indians rally

Hero: Sabathia retired 16 of the final 17 batters he faced.

Figure this: The Tribe scored nine consecutive runs to win for the eighth time in nine tries.

Quotable: "After the rain delay, Sabathia kicked it in and was overpowering." -- Jays manager John Gibbons

Elias Says: Sabathia was the first pitcher to earn a victory after allowing three first-inning homers since 1969.

-- ESPN.com news services

Indians 12, Blue Jays 4

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Not long ago, one bad inning probably would've unhinged C.C. Sabathia, sending him into mound-stomping rage.

On Tuesday night, he didn't lose his cool or the game.

"I guess I'm getting older," he said. "I hate to say that."

Rocked by Toronto for three homers in the first inning, Sabathia buckled down to stay unbeaten and Jhonny Peralta had a career-high five RBIs as the Cleveland Indians beat the Blue Jays 12-4 on Tuesday night.

Sabathia (4-0) found himself down 3-0 five batters into the game. But the left-hander settled in and held the Blue Jays to one hit over the next five innings, retiring 16 of the final 17. He walked none and struck out nine in six innings.

"They put some good swings on some balls," said Sabathia, who seems to have one tough inning every time out. "I was just glad it was at the beginning."

After enduring a season-opening month of snow, postponements and travel, Cleveland began May with a comeback victory, scoring nine consecutive runs and a season-high 12 to win for the eighth time in nine games.

The Indians' lone loss since April 22 came in a 7-4 setback on Saturday to Baltimore, a game they played under protest and one they're hoping baseball officials will give them a second chance to win.

Peralta hit a two-run double in the third and three-run homer in the fifth off A.J. Burnett (2-2), who dropped to 0-3 in three career starts at Jacobs Field.

Travis Hafner added a two-run homer and Trot Nixon a three-run shot for the Indians, who could learn if their protest will be upheld as early as Wednesday.

Toronto's Alex Rios, Troy Glaus and Aaron Hill homered in the first off Sabathia, who was unaffected by the barrage -- another sign of maturity by the 26-year-old ace. He was also helped by a 30-minute rain delay in the bottom of the first, giving him more time to regain his composure.

"After the rain delay, Sabathia kicked it in and was overpowering," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's one of the best in the league. He picked up some on his velocity and threw a real good changeup. If he can do that, he can shut you down."

Peralta's fifth homer gave Sabathia some wiggle room and the Indians a 7-3 lead in the fifth.

Victor Martinez walked leading off and Nixon singled before Peralta drove a 2-2 pitch from Burnett over the left-field wall.

Martinez's two-run double made it 9-3 in the sixth.

Down 3-0 after one, the Indians scored four runs in the third off Burnett, who got burned by a two-out walk.

"We hit the three home runs early and I handed it right back to them," Burnett said. "You've got to shut it down when your guys come out swinging like that, but I didn't do it."

David Dellucci singled with one out and Hafner followed with his sixth homer and first at Jacobs Field since Aug. 30, pulling the Indians within 3-2. Cleveland's DH was 3-for-29 at home before ripping Burnett's first pitch over the wall in right.

One out later, Burnett walked Nixon and Ryan Garko singled. Peralta, who grounded into a double play his first time up, then doubled in both runners to make it 4-3.

Sabathia dug a sizable early hole as the Blue Jays connected for three home runs totaling 1,086 feet -- all onto the left-field home run porch -- in their first at-bat.

Rios opened the game with his fifth homer before Sabathia, who had given up four homers combined in his first five starts, got two quick outs. But Glaus hit his fourth homer, and Hill followed with his sixth, giving Toronto a 3-0 lead.

Indians manager Eric Wedge never lost confidence that Sabathia would shake off the early trouble.

"He did a great job of coming back," Wedge said. "He did a great job of making adjustments. He's our horse."

Game notes
Although nothing has been finalized, Indians union rep Casey Blake confirmed that one of the four home games postponed by snow against Seattle last month will be made up when Cleveland visits Safeco Field from Sept. 25-27. ... On Monday, Gibbons picked up his 200th career win. He's fourth on the club's career list, trailing Cito Gaston (681), Bobby Cox (355) and Jimy Williams (281). ... The Indians are planning a visit to Jacobs Field for the Bluffton University baseball team, which had five players killed in a bus accident on March 2 in Georgia. Earlier, the Indians donated $1,000 and new gloves for the entire team.