CLEVELAND (AP) -- Matt Lawton went to the plate trying to be a
hero. With one swing, he became one.
Lawton hit a two-run homer with two outs in the bottom of the
ninth as the slumping Cleveland Indians rallied for four runs in
their final at-bat Tuesday night for a 6-5 win over the Baltimore
"We needed that," Lawton said. "It's been a long struggle for
us. I can't lie, the vibes around here haven't been the greatest."
Lawton hit a 2-2 pitch from Jorge Julio (2-2) over the wall in
right field to snap a three-game losing streak for the Indians, who
were one out away from their 20th loss in 26 games.
Lawton then fouled off a two-strike pitch before connecting for
his eighth homer.
As he circled the bases, Lawton's teammates poured out of the
dugout before greeting him at home plate with high-fives and slaps
on the helmet to celebrate a huge win.
"My first walkoff homer ever," Lawton said. "I shouldn't say
it, but I was up there trying to hit one and be a hero. We needed
it. Hopefully, we can keep this going."
The Indians had been 0-19 when trailing after eight innings.
"It's been a while," said Cleveland manager Charlie Manuel.
"This is big for us. We stayed with it."
The Indians did little for eight innings against Baltimore
starter Scott Erickson and two other relievers before getting to
Julio, who for the second straight game gave up a game-winning
homer in the ninth inning.
Last Saturday, Tampa Bay's Randy Winn connected off Julio.
"You need 27 outs to win," Julio said. "We got 26. That's the
second time I blew a save. In baseball those things are going to
Julio knew he made a mistake the moment he released the high
fastball to Lawton.
"I got it up," he said. "It was a good swing for him. Game
Batista homered for the Orioles, who lost their third in a row
and fifth in seven games.
"This one is tougher to take," Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove
said. "We had this in the bag and let is slip away. When you get
beat like this you look back at everything."
Erickson, coming off his shortest outing in three years, was in
line for his first career win in eight starts at Jacobs Field but
finished with a no-decision.
He gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings. He had been
0-6 with a 8.08 earned-run average at the park.
Last week, the right-hander had to leave a start against
Cleveland after just two innings because of a strained groin. It
was Erickson's quickest exit since April 20, 1999.
Before their rally, the Indians blew several scoring chances.
Cleveland is batting just .156 (5-for-32) with the bases loaded
this season and has hit into an AL-leading 45 double plays.
Batista, who came in batting just .154 in his last seven games,
gave the Orioles a 4-0 lead in the third by pulling Danys Baez's
first pitch onto the home run porch in left for his 10th homer.
Vizquel got a run back in the bottom of the inning for Cleveland
with his fifth homer, a leadoff shot to right.
The Indians improved to 10-0 when they get 10 or more hits.
... Vizquel is batting .439 (25-for-57) with eight doubles and
three homers in his last 16 games. ... Indians 3B Travis Fryman
will miss three to five days with tendinitis in his right biceps. Fryman
underwent an MRI and received a cortisone shot on the right
shoulder he had surgery on during the offseason. ... Batista's
homer was the first off Baez in 31 1/3 innings -- a span of six
starts. ... Mike Bordick, who came in batting .213, drew his three
walks on just 12 pitches. Baez drew a warning from plate umpire Dan
Iassogna when he threw behind Bordick in the sixth. ... Diaz made a
nifty diving catch near the plate on a foul pop by Jerry
Hairston with two on in the fourth.