CLEVELAND (AP) -- On a night when a bunch of rookies played like
veterans, a veteran made a rookie mistake that cost the Cleveland
Indians the game.
Reliever Mark Wohlers made a throwing error in the ninth inning
that allowed Shannon Stewart to score the go-ahead run as the
Toronto Blue Jays beat the Indians 5-4 Tuesday night. With runners on first and second and one out, Vernon Wells
smashed a grounder back to Wohlers (2-4), who spun around and made
a wild throw to second base. Wohlers had plenty of time to wait for shortstop Omar Vizquel to
get to second and make the throw, but just rushed it, Indians
interim manager Joel Skinner said. "I just turned and fired and threw it to nobody,'' Wohlers
said. "I knew as soon as I let it go, the result wasn't going to
be too good.'' The Indians and Blue Jays, both rebuilding, have a combined 25
rookies on their rosters. Eleven rookies started Tuesday's game
including both starting pitchers. Cleveland was mathematically
eliminated from contention with the loss. Indians catcher Victor Martinez, making his major league debut,
hit a bloop single to shallow left to drive in a pair of runs in
the seventh and tie it at 4. Martinez's first career hit and RBI chased Justin Miller, who
was in control through six innings. "I just threw my hands toward the ball and finally I got a
little blooper, but I'll take it anyway,'' Martinez said. "I was
so happy. That's all I can say.'' Ellis Burks hit his 28th home run, a two-run shot in the fourth. Brian Bowles (2-1) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win,
his second in as many nights. Kelvim Escobar got Martinez to hit a comebacker in the ninth for
his 31st save in 38 chances. Miller, who had won three straight starts, tied a career high
with seven strikeouts. The rookie right-hander went 6 2/3 innings,
allowing four runs on four hits and two walks. "It's a crying shame he wasn't able to get a win out of this.
He pitched well enough,'' Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca said. Ricardo Rodriguez got through seven innings, giving up four
runs, three earned, on nine hits. He walked four and struck out
five. He got Josh Phelps to hit into a double play to get out of a
bases loaded jam in the seventh. "We had some opportunities to really break the game open,''
Tosca said. "We were able to come up with an error that helped
us.'' Miller retired nine straight to start the game, striking out
five, then started the fourth by walking Coco Crisp on four
pitches. Crisp got caught stealing, Vizquel singled, and Burks hit a
two-run homer 428 feet into the Indians' bullpen in right-center to
tie it at 2. The Blue Jays loaded the bases in the second and went up 2-0 on
John McDonald's throwing error. The second baseman made a bad throw
to first while trying to turn a double play. Ken Huckaby got an RBI on the fielder's choice. Toronto took a 4-2 lead in the sixth on Dave Berg's run-scoring
double and Huckaby's RBI groundout. Huckaby was hitless, but tied a
career high with two RBI. Huckaby left the game in the ninth. He twisted his ankle on the
fence behind home plate in the seventh while sliding to go after a
wild pitch. Phelps injured his left knee on a foul ball. Phelps and Huckaby
are day to day.
Indians 1B Jim Thome singled in the ninth to reach base
safely in 39 straight games, the longest in the American League
this season. ... Stewart has reached base in 25 straight games. ...
Rodriguez has worked at least five innings in all 22 of his starts
this season, including 17 in the minors. ... Tuesday's win moved
the Blue Jays into third place for the first time since April 23.
... Martinez became the 10th Indians player to make his major
league debut this season.