CLEVELAND (AP)—C.C. Sabathia felt a bit strange pitching with such a big lead.
“Actually, I prefer pitching in tight games,” Sabathia said. “I get that many runs, I’m afraid I’ll get too relaxed and my mind starts to wander.”
Sabathia, who has lost four potential wins this year when the bullpen blew leads, gave up five hits, struck out six and improved to 5-0 in five career starts against Tampa Bay.
Travis Hafner and Ben Broussard each drove in four runs as the Indians won their fourth in a row and fifth in six games since a five-game losing streak. Hafner hit two-run doubles in the fifth and sixth, and Broussard hit a pair of two-run singles.
“It’s frustrating, shoot,” Gerut said. “The plan is to get a pitch to hit and put a swing on it. I had to stay disciplined. You don’t improve your chances of getting a hit by swinging wild at something.”
Matt Miller, called up Friday from Triple-A Buffalo, struck out five in the final two innings.
Tampa Bay was shut out for the sixth time this year in its 17th loss in 20 games, and didn’t look good doing it.
Cleveland scored six unearned runs in the fifth, helped by two Devil Rays errors, three walks and one mental mistake.
“That was awesome,” said Sabathia, who lowered his ERA to 2.03. “I felt good today, but even better after that inning.”
One out later, Matt Lawton hit a bouncer to first baseman Tino Martinez, who had Escobar caught off third. But Martinez double-clutched, then threw wildly, allowing Escobar to score and Lawton to go to second.
“I made a bad decision,” Martinez said. “It was my fault, period. If I don’t make that error, it’s a different ballgame.”
“The wind was carrying it in,” Baldelli explained. “Whether the wind blew it or not, that play has to be made.”
Gerut then drew his third consecutive walk, Victor Martinez walked to load the bases, and Hafner hit a two-run double.
Martinez rounded third on the play and should’ve been an easy out. Third baseman Geoff Blum apparently thought Martinez had scored, however, and caught the ball with his back to the plate and simply stood on the bag as the runner scrambled back to the base safely.
Waechter wouldn’t blame his defense, however.
“A lot of things happened in that inning,” he said, “but I need to take the ball and get another out.”
Broussard singled in two more in the eighth.
Waechter lost his fourth straight start. He gave up four hits and sixunearned runs in 4 1-3 innings, walking four and striking out five.
Tampa Bay pitchers walked nine for a three-game total of 25. … One walk was to Gerut with two outs in the first, though Waechter threw only three pitches out of the strike zone. With a 3-2 count, umpire Larry Poncino saw the right-hander put his pitching hand to his mouth while on the mound and called ball four. … The Indians have scored six or more runs in seven of eight games. … Tampa Bay fell to 3-17 on the road and 7-21 all-time at Jacobs Field. … Indians SS Omar Vizquel missed his second straight game with arespiratory infection.