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Homer Happy

Victor Martinez  ... three homers, seven RBIs.

The Seattle Mariners figured eight is enough.<br><br> The Indians tied a team record by hitting eight homers -- including three by Victor Martinez -- in an 18-6 rout at Safeco Field on Friday night.<br><br> So naturally it was Lou Merloni, who had one puny single in the Tribe's 21-hit attack, who got plunked by a pitch by Ruben Mateo.<br><br> "It was obvious that he hit him on purpose," said Indians manager Eric Wedge, who along with his players stormed the field.<br>

Both benches emptied, but there were no punches thrown. Umpire Tim Tschida immediately ejected Mateo.

Jody Gerut then hit a two-run homer, his ninth, off lefty Mike Myers to complete the rout.

"They were hanging out there, getting some good swings and he (Mateo) wanted to get them off the plate. One just got away," Mariners manager Bob Melvin said.

"They were taking some batting practice swings. You don't see too many balls go out in batting practice with the frequency you saw tonight."

The 18 runs and 21 hits by the Indians were both season highs, the eight homers were a record at Safeco Field and led to Seattle's 10th loss in 11 games.

Martinez hit three, giving him 15 on the season. His first of the game came in the middle of three straight third-inning shots off Seattle starter Travis Blackley.

"When you don't have your good stuff, you get hit hard," Blackley (1-2) said. "That's what happened tonight." The rookie from Australia saw his ERA soar to 11.37 as he gave up seven runs.

Matt Lawton hit a two-run homer, his 15th, Martinez followed with a shot over the fence in left and Casey Blake hit his 15th for a 5-0 lead.

Not too coincidentally, the next batter, Travis Hafner, was hit by a pitch as the Mariners began to retaliate.

Cleveland just kept pouring it on as Gerut hit an RBI double and Ronnie Belliard an RBI single for a 7-0 lead after three.

Martinez went 5-for-5 with seven RBIs and the All-Star catcher told The Associated Press afterwards that he credited hitting coach Eddie Murray for giving him some advice.

"He told me one thing I really appreciated," Martinez said. "He told me, 'Relax. Don't try to kill the ball.'

"I never think about getting in a slump. I know when I get good at-bats I can hit the ball right."

And left. The switch-hitter had a three-run homer and a solo shot batting right-handed and a solo homer and two singles from the left side.

Martinez was hitting .175 (7-for-40), with one homer and six RBI in July before the outburst, which put his season average back up to .298 and gave him a team-leading 70 RBIs.

Ben Broussard and Hafner also homered off Mateo in the ninth inning as Cleveland tied the club record for homers set at Milwaukee on April 25, 1997.

Cliff Lee (10-1) won his fifth straight decision, giving up three runs, four hits and two walks over six innings. He struck out six.

Lee's only loss this season was June 3 against the Anaheim Angels.

TRIBE TIDBITS: It was the 11th time in team history that the Indians hit three consecutive homers. The last time was against the California Angels on Sept. 12, 1996, by Jim Thome, Albert Belle and Julio Franco. Their four home runs in the ninth tied a club record, last accomplished against the Los Angeles Angels on July 31, 1963 -- when Woodie Held, Pedro Ramos, Tito Francona and Larry Brown hit consecutive shots to set a major-league record.

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