Indians 7, Devil Rays 5
Sabathia (12-7) allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings. He gave up three homers, which tied a career high.
“The guys swung the bats well and picked me up,” Sabathia said. “That was great. We ended up getting a win.”
Casey Blake had a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh for the Indians, who are 12-6 since Aug. 6.
“It was a great comeback victory,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “I was happy we were able to comeback for C.C. He’s picked us up so many times this year.”
Tampa Bay starter Rob Bell held a 5-0 lead and had retired nine straight before Gerut opened the seventh with a homer.
After Ryan Ludwick walked, Hafner then ended Bell’s night with a two-run shot that got the Indians within 5-3.
Matt Lawton made it a one-run game on an RBI grounder before Blake’s two-run single put Cleveland ahead 6-5.
Hafner also hit a solo homer in the eighth to give the Indians a 7-5 lead. It was his first multihomer game.
“When guys get hits, everybody else gets confidence,” Hafner said. “You start to get some guys on base, the team feeds off that.”
David Riske pitched the ninth for his second save in seven opportunities.
“I was really proud the way the guys responded and were able to find a way,” Wedge said.
Bell allowed three runs and five hits over six-plus innings. Loser Brandon Backe (1-1) gave up three runs, one hit and two walks while getting one out.
“The bullpen came in and didn’t get the job done,” Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. “We walked four in that inning. We’re going to spring training next year and guys that can’t throw strikes aren’t going north.”
Adam Piatt had a pair of solo homers for Tampa Bay, which has dropped four straight. They were his first two homers since being claimed off waivers from Oakland last Tuesday.
“A win would have been better,” Piatt said.
Julio Lugo ended Sabathia’s bid for consecutive shutouts by hitting a leadoff homer in the first. The left-hander blanked Tampa Bay on just four hits in Cleveland’s 1-0 win on Aug. 15.
“I struggled throwing fastballs for strikes,” Sabathia said. “My breaking ball was good. My change up was leaving the yard quick.”
Antonio Perez, mired in a 2-for-31 slide, opened the Devil Rays’ third with a triple. He scored to make it 2-0 when Indians catcher Josh Bard was charged with an error after an errant throw on a pick off attempt.
Piatt’s homer and an RBI double by Toby Hall in the fourth extended the Tampa Bay lead to 4-0.
The Devil Rays went up 5-0 on Piatt’s second homer of the game in thesixth.
Sabathia hadn’t allowed a homer in 33 innings preceding Lugo’s homer. … Piatt is the first player to hit two homers off Sabathia in the same game. … It was Lugo’s fourth career leadoff homer and the Devil Rays first since Randy Winn accomplished the feat against Seattle on July 13, 2002. … The five-run lead was the biggest squandered by the Devil Rays this season. …Sabathia has won all four career starts against Tampa Bay.