Indians 3, Marlins 2
MIAMI (AP)—Jason Stanford got to the ballpark Thursday about 45 minutes behind schedule, a victim of South Florida traffic. Once he arrived, things went perfectly according to plan.
Back in the majors for the first time since April 2004, Stanford—three years removed from reconstructive elbow surgery—carried a shutout into the seventh inning and helped the Cleveland Indians beat the Florida Marlins 3-2. It was his second career win; the other came on Sept. 26, 2003.
“It’s been a very long time,” Stanford said. “It’s my first big league game since ’04, and that was April. All the rehab and everything that I’ve gone through, tonight was just the icing on top of that cake. I can’t explain in words what I’m feeling.”
Stanford (1-0) allowed six hits and one run while striking out seven in six-plus innings, and retired 10 straight at one point. Mixing fastballs and change-ups almost exclusively, he threw 89 pitches, 67 for strikes—then endured a 61-minute rain delay in the middle of the ninth before Joe Borowski pitched out of trouble for his 19th save in 21 chances.
“Jason was outstanding,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “You never really know what to expect. It’s been a while since Jason’s been up here, but he went out there, he was poised, he was under control, he threw strikes, he worked ahead, used his pitches … you can’t say enough about what he did.”
Victor Martinez homered, doubled and scored twice for the Indians, who spoiled a night where the Marlins honored 13 players from the 1997 World Series championship team—which beat Cleveland in a seven-game classic. Casey Blake singled in the eighth, extending his hitting streak to 23 games.
Hanley Ramirez, Aaron Boone and Jeremy Hermida two hits each for Florida. The Marlins got within 3-2 in the ninth when Miguel Olivo singled in Miguel Cabrera, but Borowski struck Alfredo Amezaga out to end the game with two runners aboard.
“It’s frustrating because you’re loose and ready to go in the game and then they pull the tarp,” Borowski said. “Kind of takes a little bit out of you, but you can’t take anything away from those guys. They hit some decent pitches I threw and luckily I was able to get out of it.”
Stanford didn’t allow a baserunner to reach second until Josh Willingham’s leadoff double in the seventh, and needed only 82 pitches to get through the first six innings. But Willingham’s double gave the Marlins some life and, after Hermida followed with a sharp single to put runners on first and third with none out, Wedge decided Stanford had done enough.
“Jason had done more than his job,” said Wedge, who was noncommittal about keeping Stanford—who was 4-1 at Triple-A Buffalo this season—in the rotation.
Roberto Hernandez relieved Stanford and induced a 6-4-3 double play grounder by Olivo, with Willingham scoring on the play.
Marlins starter Dontrelle Willis (7-6) allowed two runs and eight hits in seven innings while striking out eight. He gave up Martinez’s 13th home run leading off the second, and allowed another in the third on Jason Michaels’ RBI single.
“He threw the ball well,” Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “It’s the second time on this homestand he deserved better.”
Grady Sizemore reached with two out, beating out an infield hit on a play where it appeared Willis’ left hand got stepped on while he covered first base. Sizemore went to second on the play and Willis, who briefly rolled around in pain, stayed in and gave up the RBI single to Michaels, the next batter.
“Just the way the cookie crumbles,” Willis said.
Cleveland made it 3-0 in the sixth when Martinez led off with a double and eventually scored on Gutierrez’s single.
Blake’s hitting streak is the third-longest by a Cleveland player in 11 years, and is eight shy of Nap LaJoie’s century-old club record. … Marlins 2B Dan Uggla was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. … Indians reliever Rafael Betancourt worked a scoreless eighth, his 14th straight appearance without allowing a run. … The rain began falling in the top of the ninth, and umpires called for the tarp after one of Borowski’s warm-up tosses sailed several feet from where he aimed.