Bouncing Back
Jake Westbrook
Jake Westbrook
Indians Ink
Posted Jun 10, 2004

The Indians might not always play super ball, but they sure bounce back like one.

Jake Westbrook provided the bounce in the Indians' step Wednesday night as Cleveland recovered from its disappointing loss the previous night and defeated the Florida Marlins, 8-1.

Westbrook held the defending champions to one run over eight innings as the Indians finally flattened Florida.

It was Cleveland's first win over the Marlins since Game 6 of the 1997 World Series. Florida rallied the next night to win Game 7 in 11 innings, swept a three-game series at home in 2002 and prevailed yet again Tuesday night on two ninth-inning homers off the foul pole at Jacobs Field.

Casey Blake, Travis Hafner and Ben Broussard each drove in two runs for Cleveland.

"The resolve these guys keep showing is impressive," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "They have proven it all season."

Westbrook (5-2) has proven himself, too, after beginning the year back in Cleveland's bullpen after apparently failing a spring-training test to win a spot in the rotation.

Westbrook got 16 groundouts to improve to 4-0 with a 2.95 ERA in home games this year. He gave up one run, six hits and struck out four without a walk.

"I felt good, strong," Westbrook said. "All my pitches were working and I threw strikes."

But he wouldn't say that he absolutely deserves to be a starter forever and not return to relief work.

"You can't get too greedy up here," he said. "Just being here in the big leagues is good. You have to work for everything, not take anything for granted."

Miguel Cabrera ruined Westbrook's bid for his first career shutout by hitting a majestic 446-foot homer, his 15th, deep into the bleachers in left-center to lead off the seventh inning.

"To go eight and only make one mistake, that's pretty good," Westbrook said.

Wedge said that is the kind of consistency the Indians have sought from Westbrook.

"Jake has pitched well in short stretches like this, but he's learned a lot the last couple of years," Wedge said. "When he finished last year strong, we thought he deserved a shot at starting. But he's valuable in relief, too. We liked him in the bullpen, but as fate would have it, he's done the job as a starter."

Jody Gerut had three of Cleveland's 13 hits, including an RBI single in a five-run third inning off Marlins starter A.J. Burnett (0-2).

Hafner added a two-run double and Blake a two-run homer, his eighth, in the early rally.

Blake has hit .469 (15-for-32) with two homers and seven RBI during an eight-game hitting streak.

Broussard hit a two-run double and Ronnie Belliard had a sacrifice fly in a three-run fifth to make it 8-0.

. Cleveland improved to 22-15 against right-handed starters.

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