SEATTLE (AP) -- Victor Martinez was struggling over the last
couple of weeks so he asked his batting coach Eddie Murray for some
"He told me one thing that I really appreciated," Martinez
said. "He told me, 'Relax. Don't try to kill the ball."
Martinez then had a game that would impress even a Hall of Famer
with 504 career home runs: He hit three of the Cleveland Indians'
club record-tying eight homers and drove in a career-high seven
runs in an 18-6 rout of the Seattle Mariners on Friday night.
Matt Lawton, Martinez and Casey Blake connected for consecutive
homers in a six-run third inning for the Indians. In the ninth,
Martinez, Travis Hafner and Ben Broussard all homered off Julio
Mateo. And Jody Gerut connected off Mike Myers for Cleveland's
eighth homer, which tied the club record set at Milwaukee April 25,
Martinez is having a breakout season after hitting .289, with
one homer and 16 RBI, in 49 games for the Indians last season. He
made his first All-Star team and leads all catchers with 70 RBI.
After the game, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound catcher kept the media
waiting for about an hour so he could lift weights.
In July, he was hitting .175 (7-for-40), with one homer and six
RBI, coming into Friday's game.
After working with Murray, the switch-hitting Martinez went
5-for-5. He hit a three-run homer and a solo shot from the right
side of the plate and a solo shot from the left. He also had a
"You know what. I never think about getting in a slump," he
said, still sweating from his workout. "I know when I get good
at-bats I can hit the ball right."
After Hafner's homer, Mateo hit Lou Merloni in the back with a
pitch and was ejected by plate umpire Tim Tschida. Both benches
emptied onto the field, but there were no punches thrown.
The managers differed on what happened.
"It was obvious that he hit him on purpose," Cleveland manager
Eric Wedge said. "That's what the result was."
But Mariners manager Bob Melvin said, "They were hanging out
there, getting some good swings and he (Mateo) wanted to get them
off the plate. One just got away."
The eight homers were the most given up by the Mariners, who
have lost 10 of 11. The eight homers also were a record at Safeco
"They were taking some batting practice swings today," Melvin
said. "You don't see too many balls go out in batting practice
with the frequency you see tonight."
The 18 runs and 21 hits by the Indians were season highs.
Cliff Lee (10-1) won his fifth straight decision. The
25-year-old left-hander who came to the Indians in a trade in June
2002 that sent Bartolo Colon to Montreal, pitched six innings and
gave up three runs on four hits and two walks, with six strikeouts.
His only loss in 19 starts this season came June 3 in Anaheim.
Rookie Travis Blackley (1-2) couldn't get a batter out in the
sixth, when the Indians took a 7-0 lead.
"When you don't have your good stuff, you get hard," Blackley
said. "That's what happened tonight."
Lawton, Martinez and Blake gave Cleveland a 5-0 lead with their
homers in the third. Lawton's drive was a two-run homer, his 16th
of the season.
Lawton, who also played in Tuesday's All-Star game, lauded
"He's a young player player, but he swings the bat like a
seasoned veteran," Lawton said. "It was definitely a career night
for him. He's going to be a great player for a long time."
It was the 11th time in franchise history that the Indians had
three consecutive homers, the last time was against California on
Sept. 12, 1996, by Jim Thome, Albert Belle and Julio Franco. Their
four home runs in the ninth tied a club record for homers in an
inning, last accomplished against the Los Angeles Angels on July
Jody Gerut added an RBI double and Ronnie Belliard an RBI single
for Cleveland's other two runs in the sixth.
Blackley, 21, a left-hander from Australia who is regarded as
one of the most promising prospects in the Mariners' farm system,
gave up seven runs on seven hits, three walks and a hit batter in
two innings. In three starts since being called up from Triple-A
Tacoma July 1, he has an 11.37 ERA.
Ron Villone, who will make his second start of the season for
Seattle Monday night against Boston, allowed Martinez's 14th homer
in the sixth.
Martinez had a two-run single off George Sherrill, making his
major league debut, in the seventh.
Mariners rookie Justin Leone had a three-run homer in the
fourth, his second homer in two nights, and an RBI double in the
Bucky Jacobsen, 28, went 1-for-2 in his major league debut for
The Indians had two runners thrown out at the plate in the
fourth, when Martinez and Blake opened with singles. Second baseman
Bret Boone threw Martinez out at the plate when he attempted to
score on Hafner's fielder's choice. Blake was thrown out at the
plate by left fielder Raul Ibanez for a double play after Ibanez
caught Meloni's shallow flyball.