|Javier Valentin celebrates after his pinch-hit home run lifted the Reds to an 8-7 victory. (TOM UHLMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS)|
Indians, Blake give Seattle cold shoulder
One hefty snowstorm and 45 days later, the Cleveland Indians and Seattle Mariners finally played nine innings.
Casey Blake homered and Josh Barfield had two RBIs as the Indians remained baseball's best home team with a 5-2 win last night over the Mariners, who are about to rack up some frequent-flyer miles.
The game was a makeup of the April 6 home opener at Cleveland's Jacobs Field, which was called after the clubs played 4 2/3 innings in a snowstorm that dumped more than 2 feet on the ballpark and caused the entire four-game series to be postponed.
"I had seen some bad weather here, but nothing like that," said Mariners first baseman Ben Broussard, who played five seasons in Cleveland. "It just kept snowing. It was hard to believe. We were here four days and didn't do anything."
Blake's fourth homer, a two-out shot off Cha Seung Baek (1-2), snapped a 1-1 tie in the sixth and Barfield's two-run double in the seventh gave the Indians a 4-1 lead. Grady Sizemore added a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Cleveland improved to 17-4 at home, with two of those wins coming in Milwaukee when the club had to move a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels under Miller Park's retractable roof in April.
Tom Mastny (3-1) took over for starter C.C. Sabathia and got the win.
Sabathia gave up one run and eight hits in five innings. He walked one and struck four, recording his 1,000th career strikeout in the fifth when he fanned Ichiro Suzuki for the second time.
The Mariners loaded the bases in the ninth on a double, walk, and single off reliever Roberto Hernandez. Closer Joe Borowski came on and got Suzuki to hit into a run-scoring forceout before getting Jose Vidro to pop up and Jose Guillen to ground out for his 14th save.
Seattle began a 6,273-mile, four-city trip with its fifth loss in six games.
The Indians billed the delayed matchup as "Opening Day 3" and the club even tried to duplicate some of the blustery conditions that transformed Jacobs Field into a colossal snow globe last month.
Artificial snowmaking machines, perched atop the pedestrian walkway beyond left field, produced flurries that tumbled softly onto fans -- a few of them wearing Santa Claus hats -- as they arrived.
There were ice sculptures in the plaza between the Jake and Quicken Loans Arena, and the club gave away snow tractors and ski weekends at a nearby resort.
Mariners manager Mike Hargrove remains displeased with Major League Baseball's rescheduling of the series. Seattle has to make two more trips to Cleveland, and the clubs will play a doubleheader Sept. 26 when the Indians make their only trip to Seattle.
"I think we got the short end of the stick," he said. "The way they decided to make it up is not good."
White Sox 8, Athletics 5 -- Rob Mackowiak hit a go-ahead two-run single in the sixth inning, and Darin Erstad drove in three runs to spark host Chicago. Paul Konerko added three of Chicago's season-high 14 hits and scored three runs.
Giants 4, Astros 0 -- Randy Winn extended his career-best hitting streak to 20 games, Ryan Klesko splashed his first homer as a Giant into the bay, and Noah Lowry pitched seven shutout innings to lift host San Francisco. Barry Bonds went 0 for 2 with two walks in his second straight hitless game, and remained stuck at 745 home runs.
Rangers 14, Twins 4 -- Gerald Laird hit his first career grand slam in an eight-run fifth inning as host Texas scored 10 or more runs in consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 14-15, 2004, against Oakland. Laird finished with a career-high five RBIs and Sammy Sosa had two doubles and three RBIs for the Rangers.
Reds 8, Nationals 7 -- Javier Valentin's pinch-hit, two-run homer in the eighth inning rallied host Cincinnati over Washington, which suffered its biggest blown lead of the season (six runs).
Brewers 9, Dodgers 5 -- Prince Fielder hit two home runs and Rickie Weeks had a career-high four hits in his return to the lineup to lead visiting Milwaukee. Weeks, who missed the previous four games because of a sore right wrist, hit safely his first four times up -- including an RBI double in the third. Johnny Estrada added a solo homer for Milwaukee, which increased its lead in the NL Central to 6 1/2 games over Houston.
Diamondbacks 6, Rockies 5 -- Slumping Carlos Quentin homered twice and drove in a career-high five runs as host Arizona rallied for the victory. Quentin, who entered hitting .189, drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.