Cleveland (52-50) at Seattle (44-56)

Fair Currently: Seattle, WA
Temp: 72° F
  • Game info: 10:05 pm EDT Thu Jul 28, 2005
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Slipping out of playoff contention in the American League, the Cleveland Indians need a boost from their ace.

Cliff Lee hopes to provide one when he takes the mound for the opener of a four-game series with the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field.

Lee, who won a career-best 14 games last year, is on pace to surpass that total this season. The 6-foot-3 left-hander has won 11 of his first 15 decisions, and leads the Cleveland staff in wins, strikeouts (91) and ranks second in ERA (3.87) and innings (121).

Lee has been especially solid during Cleveland’s July swoon, going 3-1 in four starts this month while the Indians have won just six of their last 20 games.

He picked up his second straight win Saturday, allowing three runs and eight hits over 7 1-3 innings of a 4-3 victory over the Mariners. Lee struck out five and walked one, improving to 4-0 with a 3.55 ERA in four career starts against Seattle.

The Indians lost two of three to AL wild card-leading Oakland, including Thursday’s 5-4, 10-inning setback. Closer Bob Wickman squandered a two-run lead in the ninth inning as Cleveland failed to build on Tuesday’s 2-0 victory, which ended the Athletics’ seven-game win streak.

“Last night I got them out on the same balls I threw today,” Wickman said. “Today, I had a two-run lead and lost it.”

Aaron Boone hit a two-run homer for the Indians, who had won three of their previous four games.

The Mariners took two of three from Detroit, including Wednesday’s 9-3 victory.

Jamie Moyer worked eight solid innings for his 201st career win and Richie Sexson homered twice for Seattle, which won for the fourth time in its last five home games.

Sexson is just the ninth Seattle player to reach the 25-homer mark and the first since recently released Bret Boone hit 35 in 2003. Sexson has eight homers and 22 RBIs this month.

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Starting Pitchers

C. Lee Phi vs. G. Meche KC
18-5 Record 10-8
3.79 ERA 5.09
143 K 83
52 BB 72
1.22 WHIP 1.57