Indians Rally To Defeat Devil Rays, 5-4

Paul Byrd and the Indians trailed Tampa Bay, 4-0, but had the Devil Rays right where they wanted them -- on the road. Byrd battled back from a shaky start and the Tribe rallied for a 5-4 win Thursday night at Jacobs Field, handing the Devil Rays their 28th loss in 31 road games since the All-Star break. With little to play for but pride, the Tribe showed plenty of it to post the comeback victory.

Byrd (10-9) trailed 3-0 after one inning, 4-0 after three, but lasted seven innings for the win.

"Byrdie showed me a lot," manager Eric Wedge said. "He had a rocky start, but kept grinding and wouldn't give in. He gave his team a chance to win."

Andy Marte hit his fifth homer, a two-run shot in the fifth, to get Cleveland within 4-2. Then Grady Sizemore's two-run homer, his 28th, tied it in the seventh.

Jason Michaels followed with a walk and scampered all the way home with the go-ahead run on a double into the left-field corner by Ryan Garko.

"J-Mike did a great job there," Sizemore said. "This was an exciting way to win."

Matt Miller pitched a scoreless eighth and Rafael Betancourt worked into and then out of serious trouble in the ninth to earn his third save. The right-hander gave up two singles and an intentional walk, but struck out the side. With the bases loaded and one out, he used only six pitches to fan the fourth and fifth hitters in the Tampa Bay lineup, Ty Wigginton and Jorge Cantu.

"That was amazing," Byrd said. "My teammates have been doing a great job behind me all year."

Byrd also went out of his way to thank Cleveland fans for their support in what he termed a very disappointing season for him personally. After the final out, he bounded back onto the field and flung his jersey to a youngster sitting behind the Indians' dugout.

"The Cleveland fans have been great, but I'm very disappointed in what I did this year," he said. (General manager Mark) Shapiro put his confidence in me and I felt like I couldn't answer. That's a poor feeling in your gut."

Signed to a two-year, $14.25 million contract as a free agent last December, Byrd said he's eager to come back next season and prove his worth.

"This season doesn't make sense for me," he said. "But you don't write it off. You learn from it and try to get better for next year. That starts tomorrow for me. I've got to figure out what didn't work and correct it."

Right-fielder Casey Blake was happy before the game and made a nice catch in the field. Even going 0-for-4 didn't wipe the smile off his face as he and wife Abbie became proud parents again Wednesday night when their third daughter, Dana, was born.

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