They still needed more to outlast the Texas Rangers.
Blake hit two homers, a bases-loaded double and had already matched a career-high seven RBIs, the most by an American League player this season, by the fourth inning. But Cleveland needed a tiebreaking two-run homer in the seventh from Ben Francisco, before David Dellucci added another two-run shot, for a 13-9 victory Monday night.
“You could feel it,” manager Eric Wedge said, after letting out an animated sigh of relief. “We knew we would have to keep scoring, keep taking advantage of opportunities.”
With struggling slugger Travis Hafner on the disabled list, the Indians scored at least 10 runs for the first time in three weeks, and only the fifth time this season.
Blake hit two-run homers in the second and third innings, then added a three-run double in the fourth that made it 8-3.
After Dellucci’s leadoff double in the second, Blake went to the plate trying to advance the runner.
“He got him over, and got him in too,” Wedge said.
“I didn’t feel great,” Blake said. “It’s one of those things. He hung a slider, I went with it and it got in the jet stream. … That just gives you confidence.”
Cleveland loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth, on a walk and two singles, before Blake doubled into the right-field corner. That bases-clearing hit came on the 100th—and last—pitch thrown by rookie Doug Mathis.
Josh Hamilton, chosen Monday as the AL player of the month for May to become the first player to win the monthly award in April and May the same season, homered in his third straight game for Texas. The two-run shot was his AL-best 16th and increased his majors-leading RBI total to 65 in his 58 games.
“Our offense is good, but you’ve got to hold the other team down,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said after his team allowed 13 runs for the second straight game. “We hope we’ve got it all out of our system the last two days. … They just took it away from us.”
Eddie Guardado (0-1) came on at the start of the seventh, and struck out Grady Sizemore for the second out after allowing a single to No. 9 hitter Asdrubal Cabrera. Benoit then left a breaking ball over the plate on his first pitch for Francisco, whose third homer skimmed the top of the left-field wall and snapped his 3-for-15 slide. That also broke an 8-8 tie.
Dellucci added homer off Benoit in the eighth, a 405-foot shot to straightaway center. Blake then flew out to center before Benoit walked four consecutive batters, the last to Francisco on four pitches, for another run.
“You have to keep scoring runs the first through the ninth innings. They have a knack for coming back,” said Dellucci, who played for the Rangers in 2004 and 2005 and had at least a dozen family members from Louisiana in attendance. “You’ve got to keep putting heat on those guys.”
Masa Kobayashi (3-2) allowed a hit and a run with three strikeouts in 1 2-3 innings.
Left-hander Aaron Laffey allowed eight runs and 11 hits over five innings. Since being recalled April 28 from Triple-A Buffalo, he had allowed only seven earned runs in six previous starts—and four of those came in his first game back.
Ian Kinsler led off the Texas fifth with a double and came home on Michael Young’s single. After Hamilton singled and Milton Bradley walked to load the bases, Byrd hit the Rangers’ fifth grand slam this season.
Young and Kinsler both went 3-for-5 to extend their hitting streaks, Young to 18 consecutive games for the longest in the AL this season, one more than Kinsler’s career-best streak. The Rangers finished with 15 hits, one less than Cleveland, which got three-hit games from Blake and Jhonny Peralta.
“Our offense isn’t having any problems right now. We’re putting up runs but we’re not getting the wins,” Kinsler said. “We can all swing the bat in this locker room. It’s frustrating. When you put up that many runs, you expect to win.”
Mathis started in place of Vicente Padilla, who was placed on bereavement leave while still home in his native Nicaragua dealing with a personal family matter. … It was Blake’s eighth career multihomer game, his first since Sept. 30, 2006 against Tampa Bay. His other seven-RBI game was July 5, 2003, at Minnesota. … Philadelphia’s Jayson Werth had eight RBIs against Toronto on May 16. … Indians third base coach Joel Skinner missed the game to attend his son’s high school graduation in Ohio. Bench coach Jeff Datz coached third.