CLEVELAND (AP)—C.C. Sabathia focused on facing San Diego’s batting order, but couldn’t help keeping an eye on his mound opponent, too.
“I was more worried about facing Adrian Gonzalez than Maddux,” said Sabathia, who held San Diego’s slugging first baseman to an 0-for-3 with two strikeouts while beating the Padres’ venerable veteran, too.
“I looked at Maddux’s numbers in the paper the other day and they’re unbelievable,” Sabathia continued. “He still gets outs and he works at his game. Somebody told me he spent four hours in the video room to get prepared to face us.”
It wasn’t enough.
Ben Francisco hit a three-run homer off the right-hander and Grady Sizemore a solo shot against reliever Cla Meredith, his ninth homer in 16 games, as Cleveland took two of three in the interleague series.
“I’ve been telling people that nobody here is going to hit .220 all year,” said Sabathia, who had received only 11 runs in his previous six starts. “These guys are going to bust out. Early in the season, it was my fault, I had like a 15 ERA after four games. I owe what I’m doing of late to everybody else here.”
Coming off a five-hitter against Minnesota on Tuesday, Sabathia (5-8) struck out 10 and allowed three runs and six hits over eight innings. His 14th game of double-digit strikeouts helped him past Charles Nagy for fifth place in Indians history with 1,239.
Maddux (3-5) fell to 0-2 in seven starts since May 10, when he became the ninth pitcher to win 350 games. The 42-year-old didn’t issue a walk for the seventh time in 15 starts this season, but wasn’t as sharp as usual. The four-time NL Cy Young winner hit a batter, threw a wild pitch, and even made an uncharacteristic error that led to three unearned runs.
Cleveland went ahead 3-0 in the third after Maddux fielded Franklin Gutierrez’s slow roller and threw wildly to first for an error—only the 52nd by the 17-time Gold Glove winner since he came to the majors in 1986.
“I shouldn’t have (made the throw),” Maddux said, adding that Sabathia is “too good to give him extra outs.
“I like watching him pitch. He’s got incredible stuff.”
Padres manager Bud Black was shocked at the miscue, but not Maddux’s overall performance.
“He’s such a flawless defender,” Black said. “That’s rare.
“I thought he threw fine. He kept us in the game, gave us a chance to win.”
Two outs later, Maddux hit Jamey Carroll with a pitch. Francisco then lined the first pitch he saw just over the wall in left for his fourth homer.
“The home run didn’t bother me,” Maddux said. “I got the ball up and he hit it, but you can’t just give them opportunities to score. You have to make them earn it.”
Sabathia yielded a leadoff double to former teammate Jody Gerut to start the game, then struck out the next five.
The left-hander had one bad inning, the fourth, when the Padres tied it at 3. Sabathia yielded four singles in the inning, including RBI hits by Justin Huber and Khalil Greene. Michael Barrett added a tying sacrifice fly.
“C.C. didn’t like giving up those runs, but didn’t let it faze him,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said. “He’s really worked hard to get into a zone and block everything else out.”
Gutierrez’s RBI single in the sixth made it 5-3.
Sizemore connected for his 17th homer and Jhonny Peralta added an RBI single to make it 7-3 in the seventh.
Maddux allowed two earned runs and eight hits over six innings, striking out two. He has two errors this year, only the third time since 2001 he has had that many.
It was the 105th career win for Sabathia. When he won No. 100 last Sept. 28 at age 27, on his way to winning the AL Cy Young, he became the youngest to reach the milestone since Maddux in 1993. … Wedge said DH Travis Hafner, out since May 30 with a sore right shoulder, is “not where he wants to be,” and is not able to start a minor-league rehab assignment next week as had been hoped. … Padres RF Paul McAnulty left in the first inning with a strained lower back, a few pitches after he broke in on a line drive by Carroll that went over his head for a double. … Padres RF Brian Giles sat out with sore left shoulder. … Padres LF Scott Hairston (hyper-extended left elbow) could play in two or three days, manager Bud Black said. … San Diego is expected to call up OF Chase Headley on Tuesday. He’s hitting .305 with 13 homers and 40 RBIs in 65 games at Triple-A Portland, and will play for the Padres on Monday in the Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, N.Y., against the Chicago Cubs.