Big League Stew - MLB

This and every weekday a.m. during baseball season, let's rise and shine together to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in Cleveland, where eyes tend to focus on LeBron James but, if folks looked away from The King for just a moment, they might have seen the Indians make up a 10-run deficit and beat the defending AL champions.

Game of the Day
Indians 11, Rays 10

Ten little runs: Victor Martinez(notes) hit a two-out, two-run single to cap a seven-run ninth inning for the Indians, who erased an early 10-0 hole and handed the Rays the most embarrassing loss in franchise history Monday night. It marked the biggest comeback for the Indians since 2001 and  the biggest collapse, ever, for the defending AL champions. It's also the first time since 2004 that a team erased a 10-run deficit and won.

If the oldest lesson in sports is to try your best, the second-oldest is to never give up, especially when things appear their bleakest. Things looked pretty bleak for the Tribe on the Cleveland lakefront Monday night. In a sport like basketball, falling behind by 10 is no big deal. As the likes of LeBron have shown, such deficits can be overcome in the time it takes to sneeze and wipe one's nose. Baseball, as George Carlin noted, is different.

You never know: His team trailing by 10 in the fourth inning, Ryan Garko(notes) hit a two-run homer to start the Indians long trail back. He added a three-run shot in the ninth to help the Indians climb within 10-8. After the Rays bullpen did more frittering, Martinez's single against Jason Isringhausen(notes) gave the Indians their 14th straight victory against Tampa Bay in Cleveland since the 2005 season. Martinez came into the at-bat in an 0-for-18 spell.

"You never know what's going to happen," Martinez said.

Don't ever give Cleveland the last shot.

Hail Victor valiant: Though not quite in the tradition of Knute Rockne or Alec Baldwin, Martinez gave his teammates an effective pep talk after they fell behind 10-0 in the fourth inning, telling them: "Go out there and be a tough out, and just keep battling."

I'd run through a wall, without the Glengarry leads, for that guy!

No coffee for Izzy: In the process of jumping to a big lead at Progressive Field, the Rays were enjoying the return of left-hander David Price(notes), a postseason hero in '08, to the majors. And, for good measure, Tampa Bay was celebrating the contract extension of mad genius manager Joe Maddon, without whom the '08 run to the World Series seems unlikely. And a big victory seemed the best way to ease the grief of losing infielder Akinori Iwamora, whom the team learned would be lost for the season to a torn left ACL.

Price struggled to go 3 1/3 innings, walking five and only slightly resembling the pitcher on the mound for the last out of the ALCS. Maddon, while he did manage to fill out the lineup card correctly against the Indians this time, couldn't conjure the right move to stop the flow of Indians runs. Closer Jason Isringhausen soiled Aki's memory by walking three and putting Martinez in position to put the Rays away.

"The walks are unacceptable," Isringhausen said. "I'd rather give up home runs than walk guys."

Well, there's always today for the homers, Mr. 6.00 ERA.

* * *

Feelin' Rundown (the Indians also came back to win these games): 

Padres 9, D-backs 7 (10 inn.): The devil — or, more specifically, el diablo — has gotten into the Padres, winners of 10 in a row. How have they done it? In this episode, they roared back to snap an 11-game road losing streak with eight combined runs in the eighth, ninth and 10th, capped by Chase Headley's(notes) go-ahead two-run homer. During the winning streak, they've gotten seven victories from starting pitchers after going nearly a month without one.

Pirates 10, Cubs  8: Freddy Sanchez(notes) goes 6-for-6 and the Cubs have gone 8-for-8 without a victory. Lou came out to argue, but to no avail.

Reds 8, Astros 5: Aaaaaayyyyy, Joey Votto's(notes) back in the neighborhood. Sorta, kinda. He hit two long balls Saturday in a return from his journey to the center of his ear, before being relegated to pinch hitting the past two days. Joey can take his time, because Jonny Gomes(notes) is on case! See what happens when you bring up Jonny? Six hits in four games, including three hits and three RBIs Sunday.

Tigers 13, Royals 1: Verlander's in a groove, maybe his grooviest groove ever: 5-0 with an 0.85 ERA. Leyland says he's no longer like "a bull in a china shop." That's right, Justin. Strikeouts are fascist, anyhow. ... GilgaMeche's swears it's a lack of consistency and not a lack of a healthy back that has him in a tizzy.

Red Sox 6, Twins 5: After barely hanging on for a save, Papelbuns snapped a towel at a N.Y. Post photographer for — you're not going to believe this — taking his picture. What nerve! My only quibble with the Post: you can't spell "fotog" any way other than "p-h-o-t-o-g."

White Sox 17, Angels 3: Jim Thome(notes) passes Mike Schmidt on the career home run list with No. 549. Hey, Vladimir Guerrero(notes) is back, huzzah!

Brewers 1, Cardinals 0: If it seems like the Brewers just beat the Cardinals 1-0, they did, 10 (days) ago.

Dodgers 16, Rockies 6: Hey, have you heard about this No Manny Diet? Take him out of the lineup, still score five runs a game — and without all the empty carbs! This box score looks funny, because everyone went 2-for-6 or 3-for-5 with two or three RBIs.

Giants 8, Braves 2: Travis Ishikawa(notes) probably should be in the minors. And yet, if he's with Fresno on Monday, he can't go 4-for-4 with a home run, three runs, three RBIs and a steal. See? You see how life is?

Yankees 11, Rangers 1: A-Rod goes 5-for-5 against his old club and gives his take on the red Yankees caps worn for Memorial Day: "A little weird." A-Rod hates America!

Orioles 4, Blue Jays 1: Not sure what's wrong with the Blue Jays, but as I recall the Rays had a period like this in '08 when they couldn't buy a victory. Everything relates to the Rays, you know.

Athletics 6, Mariners 1: Another victory in Brett Anderson's(notes) next start and it counts for being on a roll. Four hits and a walk for Adam Kennedy(notes), who was toiling in Tampa Bay's minor league system 2 1/2 weeks ago. The Rays, too, could use him now.

Marlins 5, Phillies 3: It's either a good time to buy Jamie Moyer(notes), or a good time to say good-bye to Jamie Moyer. Not sure which.

Mets 5, Nationals 2: Sheff has put about 100 points on his batting average with three homers and nine RBIs since Carlos Delgado(notes) went down. This most recent homer was the subject of some replay controversy, but the Nationals can't even win those battles.

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