Series: Game 1 of 3

Cleveland leads 1-0 (as of 7/2)

Game 1: Friday, July 2
Game 2: Saturday, July 3
Game 3: Sunday, July 4
in 11

Indians 15

(39-39, 16-23 away)

Reds 2

(42-37, 23-15 home)

    7:10 PM ET, July 2, 2004

    Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati, Ohio 

    123456789 R H E
    CLE 002160060 15 15 1
    CIN 010001000 2 8 0

    W: K. Tadano (1-0)

    L: J. Sanchez (0-1)

    Japanese import strikes out 10

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- With one groundbreaking game, Kazuhito Tadano got beyond the video.

    Ronnie Belliard hit the first of Cleveland's four homers Friday night, clearing the way for the Japanese college star to win his first start for the Indians, 15-2 over the Cincinnati Reds.

    Tadano, who was shunned by Japanese pro teams aware that he had appeared in a gay porn video, got his first keepsake moment in the majors -- first win, first hit, first run.

    It was a huge step for a pitcher who is still learning the language and the majors.

    "He's easier-going," Belliard said. "He doesn't talk much. He just sits in the corner and says nothing. We talk to him and try to make him laugh."

    Throwing 90 mph fastballs from his jerky delivery, the right-hander struck out 10 in seven innings -- the most by an Indians pitcher since Chuck Finley fanned 10 Detroit Tigers on May 28, 2002.

    Right from the start, teammates sensed it was his night.

    "You could tell from the first inning, when he struck out the side," catcher Victor Martinez said. "He was just on fire, man."

    Tadano (1-0) allowed two runs and four hits. He even rounded out his night by getting a single in his first big-league at-bat and scoring a run.

    "My location was great when it needed to be," he said, through a translator.

    The Indians made it easy for the rookie by piling their most runs since Aug. 5, 2001, when they overcame a 12-run deficit and beat Seattle 15-14.

    Belliard hit a two-run homer in the third off Jesus Sanchez (0-1) that got the Indians rolling. Martinez, Coco Crisp and Casey Blake added three-run shots off a staff that has given up eight homers in the last two games.

    Cleveland is 4-0 against its intrastate rival this season. The Indians swept a three-game series at Jacobs Field last month with three late comebacks, and lead the interleague series 19-12 overall.

    That first matchup included one raw moment. Cliff Lee was ejected for throwing a pitch behind Ken Griffey Jr.'s head. Griffey was out of the lineup Friday for the fourth straight game because of a sore calf.

    Both benches were immediately put on notice by plate umpire Paul Schrieber when Phil Norton's first pitch in the sixth inning flew behind Belliard, who thought it was on purpose.

    "But it didn't hit me, and we won the ballgame," he said.

    There were no other dustups on a night that belonged to Cleveland's first Japanese player.

    Tadano, 24, made seven relief appearances in two stints with Cleveland this season before getting the chance to fill in for C.C. Sabathia, who is recovering from a sore shoulder.

    He was one of Japan's top college pitchers, but didn't get drafted after a Japanese tabloid published photos of him from the porn video. He signed with the Indians and was one of their top pitchers last year in the minors, where he told teammates about the video.

    He also asked forgiveness during a news conference in Cleveland last January, saying he appeared in the video only because he needed money.

    The right-hander baffled the Reds from the outset with his jerky delivery. He raises his arms high above his head, pauses, lifts his front leg high and slings the ball before coming to an abrupt stop.

    "He's got one of those (Hideo) Nomo type deliveries," said third baseman Brandon Larson, who was 0-for-2. "He mixed his pitches up real well."

    Tadano struck out the first four Reds on 20 pitches. Then, he lost his composure, walking Javier Valentin after the Reds loaded the bases.

    It was his only major lapse, and he made up for it.

    He singled to center in the fifth and scored on Belliard's homer into the upper deck in left field, putting the Indians ahead to stay and starting yet another drubbing of the Reds' pitching staff.

    Manager Eric Wedge has noticed Tadano getting more mature as the season goes along.

    "We're taking it start by start now," Wedge said. "We've always said he's a multiple-role guy. We're still not sure what his role is, but you've got to take notice of the way he's throwing the ball."

    The Reds called up Sanchez because the Indians were only 9-17 against left-handed starters. Cleveland piled up three homers and nine runs in the first five innings against Sanchez and left-hander Mike Matthews.

    Game notes

    It's the Indians second visit to Great American. They opened it with two preseason exhibitions last year, winning both games. ... The Indians also hit four homers against the White Sox on June 23. ... Reds OF Austin Kearns had surgery to remove a bone spurt and scar tissue from his right thumb. He's expected to start swinging a bat in three or four weeks. ... OF Adam Dunn struck out twice. He leads the majors with 99 strikeouts.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press