Indians snap 10-game slide with 13-2 win over Rays
CLEVELAND (AP)—The Indians snapped out of one of the worst losing streaks in franchise history by beating a team that is suddenly trying to find answers of its own.
Ben Francisco had a career-high four RBIs and hit one of Cleveland’s four home runs as the Indians snapped a 10-game losing streak with a 13-2 victory over Tampa Bay that extended the Rays’ skid to four on Thursday night.
Cleveland last dropped 10 in a row in 1979 and avoided its longest streak in 77 years by overcoming a 2-0 deficit. The last time the Indians lost 11 straight was 1931, on the way to a team-record 12 consecutive losses.
“This was huge for all of us,” said Dellucci, adding that a rather fiery pregame talk to the team by manager Eric Wedge gave him inspiration.
“He got right to the point while showing his faith in us,” Dellucci said. “Afterwards, we felt good about ourselves even though we know where we are in the standings.”
Aaron Laffey (5-5) earned the last-place Indians’ first win since recently traded CC Sabathia beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-0 on June 27. Laffey allowed two runs and four hits over six innings, winning for the first time in five starts since June 12.
“When we fell behind, it was like it was 10-0 and you felt it through the entire stadium,” Laffey said. “But the guys came through against the best team in the big leagues.”
Tampa Bay came in with baseball’s best record (55-35), but lost for the 10th straight time in Cleveland. Tampa Bay last won at the Indians’ home on Sept. 29, 2005, when Lou Piniella was manager. The Rays’ 26-56 record overall against Cleveland is their worst against any opponent.
Kelly Shoppach got Cleveland going by poking a one-out single to right in the fifth. Dellucci, in a 7-for-47 (.149) slump, followed with his seventh homer — and first since June 4.
“David gave us a shot of energy,” Wedge said. “Then we had real good at-bats up and down the lineup.”
Shin-Soo Choo led off the sixth with his third homer and Blake connected for his ninth in the eighth to make it 7-2. Francisco and Blake each had two-run singles later in the inning.
The Rays took a 2-0 lead in the third. Willy Aybar hit a leadoff single and Jonny Gomes drove his seventh homer of the season deep into the left-field bleachers. Gomes was in a 1-for-24 slump, with the only hit a pinch homer June 28 at Pittsburgh.
Sonnanstine gave up nine hits and six runs over 5 1-3 innings. He had gone 4-0 and the Rays were 7-0 in his previous seven starts since May 27.
“This one is real frustrating for a number of reasons,” said Sonnanstine, who grew up about 40 miles south of Cleveland in Wadsworth, Ohio. “We’d lost the last (three) and I look at myself as a stopper. I had a lot of family and friends in the stands. To get beat up like this in a blowout, it’s not a good feeling.”
The Rays have hit only .182 (25-for-137) during their losing streak, which ties their longest of the season. They lost four in a row April 6-9.
“We’re getting into swinging for the five-run homer instead of playing offense,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “We’re not getting enough runners on base. I believe everybody is trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark. We have to get away from that.”
The Rays are trying to be the fourth team to be in first place at the All-Star break one year after having the majors’ worst record, joining the 1989 Orioles and 2001 Cubs and Phillies. … The Indians claimed RHP Bryan Bullington, the No. 1 pick in the 2002 amateur draft, on waivers from the Pittsburgh and sold Triple-A INF Ryan Mulhern and RHP Dan Reichert to the Pirates. Bullington was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo. … The Indians signed 2B Cord Phelps, their third-round pick in last month’s draft. … Maddon said RHP Troy Percival (strained left hamstring) wants to throw off the mound before the All-Star break.