A Painful Loss

Alex Escobar can't get a foul fly by Jeff Conine.

The Indians hope they didn't lose more than a 4-1 ballgame to the Florida Marlins on Thursday night.<br><br> They'll find out Friday if they also lost Victor Martinez to an injury.<br>

Cleveland's switch-hitting batting machine limped off the field after twisting his right ankle running out a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth inning.

"Hopefully it is not too serious," manager Eric Wedge said of Martinez, who waved away reporters and said he had to go into the trainer's room for treatment.

Martinez's 10th homer accounted for Cleveland's run production off Florida right-hander Carl Pavano (6-2).

"Victor couldn't hit for us every time," said Casey Blake, who struck out three times against Pavano. "We had four hits and he had two of them.

"I was guessing all night. I really didn't have any idea."

The one brief time when Pavano looked like he might start to struggle, the Indians helped him.

Pavano issued his first walk, to Martinez to open the seventh inning, but came back to get Travis Hafner to pop out to third base on a 3-0 pitch.

"That really helped," Pavano said. "I was a little wild that inning. I know he has power and I didn't want to groove one, but he popped it up. I was a little surprised."

Marlins catcher Mike Redmond thought Hafner swung at ball four.

"It was a little high, maybe a strike, maybe not," Redmond said. "In that situation, sometimes a hitter is thinking the pitcher is going to just try and throw one down the middle to get it over. He could just as easily hit it into the seats."

Pavano gave up one run and four hits in 8 2/3 innings for his fourth win in five decisions. He was replaced by Armando Benitez after Martinez doubled with two outs in the ninth.

Martinez limped into second and was removed for pinch-runner Tim Laker.

"He walked off the field and walked up to the clubhouse, so we'll just have to see how he is tomorrow," said Wedge.

Benitez got Hafner for the final out to earn his 14th consecutive save and 24th in 25 chances this season.

"Sure, I wanted to finish, but we've got the best closer in the league," said Pavano, who struck out seven and walked one.

He often was helped by the Indians swinging -- and making outs -- early in the count. He retired the side in order on nine pitches in the fifth inning and needed just six pitches to get three outs in the sixth.

Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run homer for the Marlins, who have won 10 of the 12 games started this season by Pavano.

Florida took two of the three games in the interleague series.

Gonzalez hit a two-out single to right off Jason Davis (1-4) in the second inning and came all the way around to score on a double to right-center by Redmond, who went 3-for-4.

Martinez tied it in the bottom half with his homer into the right-field seats.

"I couldn't figure him out," said Pavano. "He's really a good hitter."

Martinez has hit .419 (18-for-43) with 10 RBI during an 11-game hitting streak and .333 (42-for-126) with six homers and 37 RBI since being moved to the fourth spot in the batting order May 3.

Gonzalez put the Marlins up 3-1 in the sixth with his fifth homer, a two-run shot to right. Davis gave up three runs and nine hits over seven innings. The right-hander walked two and struck out four.

"Jason pitched pretty well, maybe left a couple of balls up," Wedge said.

Juan Pierre drove in Florida's final run in the eighth off Cliff Bartosh. His opposite-field liner bounced into the left-field stands for a ground-rule double, scoring Lenny Harris, who singled off Rick White with one out.

David Riske finished with 1 1-3 hitless innings, striking out two.

TRIBE TIDBITS: RHP Scott Elarton probably will be called up from Class AAA Buffalo to pitch Saturday night against Cincinnati. ... RHP Jeff D'Amico will make a rehab start Saturday for the Bisons. D'Amico has been on the Indians' disabled list since May 11 with a lower back strain.

LHP C.C. Sabathia will try to stop his boyhood hero, Ken Griffey Jr., from hitting his 500th homer. The Reds' outfielder comes to town Friday night with 498 career homers, seeking to join Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Rafael Palmeiro as players hitting No. 500 against the Indians. Ruth did it off Willis Hudlin at old League Park in 1929, Williams connected off Wynn Hawkins at Cleveland Stadium in 1960, and Palmeiro hit his last year in Texas off Dave Elder.

LHP Scott Lewis, the Ohio State junior drafted by Cleveland in the third round Monday, is expected to throw for Indians management at Jacobs Field this weekend. He had reconstructive surgery on his left elbow May 29, 2003.

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