Cliff Lee (AP photo by Amy Sancetta)
Cliff Lee's scoreless streak came to an end but his remarkable turnaround continued Wednesday night. Lee improved to 5-0 as the Indians' slumbering offense showed signs of coming to life with an 8-3 home win over the Seattle Mariners. Grady Sizemore got things started with a leadoff home run in the first inning and Lee took it from there, pitching masterfully until the seventh inning.
Lee (5-0, 0.96 ERA) ran his scoreless innings streak ended to 27 until giving up singles to Jose Vidro and ex-Indian Richie Sexson, then a three-run homer to rookie Wladimir Balentien's to open the seventh. Still, the left-hander improved to 6-1 in nine career games against Seattle.
"It had to come to an end eventually," reasoned Lee, who has yielded only four earned runs in 37 2/3 innings over five starts.
After compiling a 46-24 record over three previous seasons, Lee's world came crashing down a year ago. He opened the season on the disabled list and never got going. He wnet just 5-8 with a 6.29 ERA and was banished to Buffalo to try and work out his troubles.
"Sometimes when guys go through tough times, they find out a lot about themselves," Indians manager Eric Wedge told reporters.
In that case, the Indians' offense should have discovered a lot in April -- and maybe they found out what was wrong as the lineup delivered its biggest output in a week.
Sizemore (.287) went 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs and his third homer.
Franklin Gutierrez (.276) drove in three runs with an RBI single in the fourth and two-run single in the fifth.
Victor Martinez (.366) and Kelly Shoppach (.306) also had two hits apiece. Martinez, who leads the AL in batting average, extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
SLumping Travis Hafner, batting just .137 (7-for-51) in his last 14 games, didn't play. Ryan Garko (.225), who didn't play Tuesday, batted cleanup as the DH. Garko scored two runs, though he went 0-for-1 to extend his slump to 0-for-24. He also had a sacrifice fly, walk and was hit by a pitch.
Jensen Lewis (3.71 ERA) yielded only a walk and got one strikeout over two hitless innings and Jorge Julio (3.65 ERA) struck out one and gave up a hit in a scoreless ninth for Cleveland.