CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Indians lost the game, but didn't lose any
AL wild-card standings
Cleveland came up short of a comeback against Tampa Bay, losing
5-4 Tuesday night to remain two games behind first-place Chicago in
the AL Central. The Indians lead the wild-card standings but have
the same record as Boston and New York, who are tied atop the AL
East.The Indians, who trailed the White Sox by 15 games on Aug. 1,
promised to do what they have done all year -- put the loss behind
them and move on."We'll just come back tomorrow and go at it again," Indians
outfielder Coco Crisp said.Scott Kazmir (10-9) held Cleveland to one run in six innings and
Julio Lugo hit a three-run homer as Tampa Bay built a five-run
lead."We couldn't get to Kazmir. He was the story," Indians manager
Eric Wedge said.Former Indians pitcher Danys Baez got Ronnie Belliard to hit
into a game-ending double play with the tying run on third, handing
Cleveland consecutive losses for the first time since Sept. 3-4 at
Minnesota."We knew Cleveland would come back at us. What a big double
play at the end," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "This is a
good win against a team that's really been playing great."The announcement of Chicago's 3-2 loss drew one of the biggest
cheers of the night. The Indians noticed as well, but downplayed
their scoreboard watching."If we watched as much as you guys would like us to watch, we
wouldn't have time to play the game," Wedge told reporters.The Indians have struggled against Tampa Bay this season,
getting swept in a three-game series at Jacobs Field in mid-August.
They have two games remaining against the Devil Rays before a
three-game home series against Chicago to finish the season."We need to remember the adversity that we overcame this
year," Indians right fielder Casey Blake said. "Hopefully, that
will help us the next five games."Cleveland staged a comeback on RBI doubles by pinch-hitter Ben
Broussard and Blake in the eighth inning off Joe Borowski. But
Borowski struck out Grady Sizemore to end the threat.Baez allowed Victor Martinez's RBI single to center in the ninth
before earning his 40th save in 48 chances.Kazmir walked five but worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the
second and left another two stranded in the third.He allowed one run and four hits to improve to 4-1 in September.
He gave up eight runs in 2 1/3 innings in his last appearance
against Cleveland on Aug. 25."We all know their situation," Kazmir said. "We came in here
knowing we're facing a very hot team with a lot on the line. That's
why this was a good win. But we've been playing all the contenders
very tough for the last couple months."Last-place Tampa Bay has a winning record against the Indians,
Yankees, Angels and A's.Scott Elarton (11-8) fell to 0-3 against the Devil Rays this
season after allowing five runs and 10 hits in five innings. He had
been Cleveland's top pitcher this month, going 4-0 in his last four
starts with three earned runs."For whatever reason, I just had a hard time with these guys,"
Elarton said.Lugo's homer in the fourth inning made it 4-0, and Alex Gonzalez
hit his ninth home run in the sixth.Aaron Boone's two-out RBI single in the sixth made it 5-1.Kazmir, who leads the league in walks, walked the bases loaded
with two outs in the second. But Joey Gathright made a leaping
catch on Blake's liner to the warning track to end the inning.Tampa Bay led off the game with three straight hits to take a
1-0 lead on Jorge Cantu's single. But Elarton got two groundouts
and a popout to get out of the jam.
The Indians are 3-5 against Tampa Bay this season. ...
Kazmir's six strikeouts helped him surpass Tony Saunders' club
record of 172 set in 1998. ... Cleveland stranded 11 runners. ...
Kazmir and Elarton entered Tuesday night having allowed the fewest
earned runs in the AL in September.