Indians 11, Rangers 6

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Grady Sizemore wasn’t thinking about another home run when he hit a flare down the left-field line. Then Cleveland’s speedy leadoff hitter saw the ball rolling behind the outfielder and his coach waving him home.

Sizemore’s first-ever inside-the-park homer, and major league-leading 90th extra-base hit, came an inning after he homered into the second deck of seats in right field. His first multihomer game highlighted the Indians’ 11-6 victory Sunday and spoiled the Texas Rangers’ home finale.

“It’s usually those first two or three steps out of the box that give you a chance to do it or not,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He was getting after it like he always does. With the way the ball bounced, he was able to get it.”

Sizemore said he had never had an inside-the-park homer at any level, not even Little League.

“It was definitely exciting,” Sizemore said.

Carlos Lee made an unsuccessful sliding attempt to catch the looping fly ball in the sixth. The ball rolled past him into the corner, and Sizemore easily scored.

“A lot of guys would have been coasting to first base seeing if it was going to fall,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He is probably one of the few guys that would have been going that hard out of the box to score on it.”

When Lee came to bat in the seventh and ninth innings, the potential free agent was greeted with a chorus of boos.

“It’s a play that we’d like to make, but we didn’t,” Showalter said.

Sizemore’s conventional homer in the fifth made it 6-2 and chased Kevin Millwood (16-11), who had won his last four home games.

Aaron Boone had a pair of two-run singles in Cleveland’s last road game.

The 90 extra-base hits by Sizemore are the most by a leadoff hitter since Alfonso Soriano had 89 leading off for the New York Yankees in 2002, which was then the most since 1957. Soriano also has 89 extra-base hits this season, the most in the NL for Washington. He has moved around the lineup some with the Nationals.

Sizemore leads the majors with 131 runs scored, to go along with his 52 doubles, 11 triples and 27 home runs.

“I don’t know if I’m the typical leadoff hitter. I just try to make things happen,” Sizemore said. “There’s definitely some good things I’ve done this year. When people are talking about it, obviously you’re doing something right. But I try not to focus too much on it. I just want to add on and finish strong.”

The popular 24-year-old center fielder signed a $23.45 million, six-year contract last spring, the most guaranteed money for a player with less than two years of major league service. He is only a week shy of becoming the first Indian since Joe Carter in 1989 to play in all 162 games.

Jake Westbrook (14-10) pitched just long enough to get the victory, allowing five runs and nine hits over five innings.

Millwood threw 114 pitches, two short of his season high, and 47 came before he even recorded an out in the second inning. The right-hander gave up six runs and seven hits with six strikeouts, five walks (one intentional) and a hit batter.

“I had a hard time putting the ball where I wanted to,” Millwood said. “I would have liked to have ended on a better note, as I’m sure the team would too.”

Miguel Ojeda’s two-run single in the fifth got the Rangers within 6-5 before Sizemore’s second homer off reliever Joaquin Benoit capped a five-run outburst that put the game out of reach.

Boone had his second two-run single before scoring in front of Sizemore in the sixth. Another run scored on a passed ball by Ojeda.

Shin-Soo Choo put the Indians up with an RBI single in the first. An inning later, Boone had his first run-scoring single and then scored on a grounder for a 4-0 lead.


It was Cleveland’s second inside-the-park homer this season—Casey Blake had one July 25 at home against Detroit. Sizemore’s was the first against the Rangers at home since Chuck Knoblauch had one for the New York Yankees on April 29, 1999. … The Indians have agreed to move their spring training home from Florida to the Phoenix suburb of Goodyear. The deal is contingent on public funding for a new complex that could be ready by 2009. … The Rangers finished 39-42 at home, their first losing mark since 1997. … Cleveland was 34-47 on the road. … Millwood was 7-7 at home in the first season of his $60 million, five-year deal.

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