Cubs 9, Indians 2, 7 innings
CLEVELAND (AP)—Thunder rumbled, lightning skipped across the sky and sheets of rain drowned Jacobs Field in the seventh inning.
The imperfect storm arrived a little earlier.
Carlos Zambrano won again following a Chicago loss and the Cubs, handed extra outs by Cleveland’s infield during a bizarre eight-run rally off C.C. Sabathia, rolled to a rain-shortened 9-2 win over the Indians on Wednesday night.
Booming storms halted play in the top of the eighth, and the umpiring crew waited 1 hour, 18 minutes before calling the interleague game.
Afterward, a frustrated Sabathia apologized for briefly quitting during his start and summed up the Indians’ season.
“We all know we stink right now,” he said.
Broussard and Belliard both failed to turn easy grounders into outs—one for throwing the ball to the wrong base, the other for not throwing it at all.
“Inexcusable,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.
Sabathia refused to blame anyone but himself for Cleveland’s latest loss— the Indians’ 10th in 13 games.
“What’s inexcusable? For me not to make pitches. For me to be giving up,” Sabathia said, protecting his teammates. “That’s something as a pro I should never do. I would like to apologize to everybody. I lost focus.”
Staked to a 9-1 lead after three, Zambrano (6-3) simply coasted for six innings while improving to 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA in his last eight starts after a Chicago defeat. He allowed two runs and six hits.
Neifi Perez and Aramis Ramirez had two RBIs apiece for the Cubs, who tagged Sabathia (5-4) for a career-high nine runs and eight hits in 3 1-3 innings. The lefty, though, deserved better following two rare plays.
“They helped us on a couple of weird plays that I haven’t seen—ever,” Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. “They say if you stay in baseball long enough you’ll see everything, and I’m still seeing stuff.”
Perez had three hits and scored twice as the Cubs won for just the second time in nine games.
The Cubs scored their eight runs by sending 12 batters to the plate in the Indians’ embarrassing third.
Sabathia gave up two singles to open the inning but got Phil Nevin to hit a chopper to Broussard, who was playing in with a runner at third. Broussard, though, got faked out by Perez’s charge down the line and fired home, allowing Perez to get back to third and the Cubs to load the bases.
“In my mind, I saw him going,” said Broussard, who heard someone yell for him to throw to the plate. “That’s the first time that has ever happened to me. I was in no-man’s land on that one.”
Matt Murton followed with a tricky hopper to Belliard, who fielded the ball cleanly while moving to his left. However, instead of throwing to second or first, Belliard didn’t throw it anywhere while the Cubs scored another run and re-loaded the bases.
Wedge said the ball spun in Belliard’s glove and by the time he got a good grip, it was too late.
Sabathia then gave up an RBI single to Jacque Jones, forced in a run with a walk and gave up a run-scoring single to Henry Blanco that made it 5-1. But the Cubs weren’t finished as Juan Pierre hit an RBI single, finishing Sabathia.
Sabathia slouched as he slowly walked to the dugout disappointed with his defense and his outing.
“Everything,” Sabathia said when asked what was wrong with the Indians. “Right now I don’t think anyone is having fun playing the game.”
Rookie Edward Mujica came on and gave up a two-run double—charged to Sabathia—to Perez, who had two hits in the inning. Ramirez capped Chicago’s biggest inning since Aug. 28 with a sacrifice fly, making it 9-1.
Cubs 1B Derrek Lee, who has been out with a broken wrist since April 21, will make a minor league rehab appearance this weekend and could be back next week. … Baker remembers a 12-year-old Sabathia attending his baseball camp in northern California. “He was big then,” Baker said. “He was born big. I didn’t know if he’d be a pitcher. He could really hit the ball. He was good at everything. He wore his hat straight back then, though.” … Mujica pitched a scoreless 2 2-3 innings in his major league debut. He has yet to give up an earned run in 41 1-3 innings at three levels this season. … There was one amusing moment for the Indians. In the fifth, Todd Hollandsworth hit a slow roller to first but stopped on his way down the line. Hollandsworth then stayed alive be retreating toward the plate and standing near home for several seconds before being tagged. … Sabathia has more career wins (74) than any other pitcher 25 or younger. Zambrano (54) is second. … The Indians have lost six straight series and are 1-7-1 in series play since May 23. … Blanco loves coming to Cleveland. He’s batting .391 (20-for-46) in 16 games at Jacobs Field.