Rookie Power: Marte's Slam Helps Sowers Win
Jeremy Sowers ... another win.
Jeremy Sowers ... another win.
Indians Ink
Posted Sep 5, 2006


Andy Marte's first career grand slam helped Jeremy Sowers get another win Tuesday night. Marte broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning and the Indians went on to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays, 7-2. Cleveland is 19-7 since Aug. 8 -- and the Tribe has been doing it with a lineup filled with precocious rookies such as Sowers, Marte, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Ryan Garko, Joe Inglett, Shin-Soo Choo and Tom Mastny.

Sowers (7-3, 3.35 ERA) was simply superb once again, limiting the Blue Jays to two runs and five hits over seven innings, striking out three.

"He was competing against one of the best pitchers in baseball," manager Eric Wedge told reporters. "I think it's even more special."

Sowers earned the win against Blue Jays all-star Roy Halladay.

In his last nine starts since July 22, the little left-hander from Vanderbilt is 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA.

Casey Blake (.293) gave Cleveland a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning with an RBI single.

Toronto scored once in the sixth and seventh to take a 2-1 lead before the Indians rallied.

Ryan Garko (.319) got it started with a one-out double and was replaced by pinch-runner Franklin Gutierrez. Shin-Soo Choo (.290) then beat out an infield single, sending Gutierrez to third.

Blake then bounced to the pitcher, but the speedy Gutierrez beat the throw home, tying the score. After Hector Luna (.281) flied out, Joe Inglett (.282) walked to load the bases.

Marte (.204) cleared them with a drive to center for his second homer and 6-2 lead.

"It's a different day. He was up with the bases loaded yesterday and they got him," Wedge said. "He took advantage of another great opportunity. He hit the ball as well as you could hit it."

It was Cleveland's 13th grand slam of the season, setting a team record.

The Indians reloaded the bases when Grady Sizemore (.296) singled, Jason Michaels (.265) walked, and Victor Martinez (.309) was hit by a pitch. But Kelly Shoppach (.261) grounded out to end the inning.

In the ninth, Choo singled for his third hit, stole second and scored on a one-out single by Luna.

Rafael Betancourt (4.10) fanned two in a perfect eighth and Mastny (1.35) gave up a walk and got one strikeout in a hitless ninth.

Travis Hafner missed his fourth game in a row with a bruised right hand. The Indians' DH was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded Friday night in Texas.

On Tuesday, Hafner was named the AL Player of the Month for August.

He reached base safely in 24 of 28 games in the month, batting .361 (35-for-97) with 13 homers and 30 RBI. He also had nine doubles, 25 runs, 83 total bases, a .484 on-base percentage and .856 slugging percentage. He drove in two or more runs in eight games during the month and had a career-high 14-game hitting streak, Aug. 10-24.

"We always talk about Travis as a hitter first," Wedge said. "Next comes the power.

"He wants to be up there in key situations, and he gets on base. It's not something that just happens. He's a guy who works as hard as any hitter I've seen."



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