BALTIMORE (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians capped a successful month
with the type of performance that fueled their hopes of keeping the
momentum going in July.
Jake Westbrook won his fourth straight start and Coco Crisp went
3-for-5 with two RBI, leading Cleveland over the Baltimore Orioles
9-3 Thursday night.Jhonny Peralta had two hits, two RBI and scored twice for the
Indians, who went 17-10 in June -- their winningest month since May
2001, when they were 19-8. Cleveland has won nine of its last 11 on
the road and five of six overall."The game of baseball has a lot of ups and downs," Crisp said.
"We went through a down stage and now we're going up. Hopefully,
we can stay consistent throughout the rest of the year and keep
playing as well as we've been playing."Westbrook (6-9) allowed three runs, four hits and three walks
over seven innings. He left after throwing 95 pitches on a hot,
humid night."It's a nice little streak," he said of his four-game run.
"Hopefully, I can keep it going. With the way the offense is
swinging the bats, it's nice."Baltimore's Rafael Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with two RBI to move
within eight hits of reaching 3,000 for his career. He was robbed
of a hit in the third inning by second baseman Ronnie Belliard, who
stabbed a grounder on the outfield grass and threw out Palmeiro by
a step.Sal Fasano homered for the Orioles, who have lost seven of
eight. Sammy Sosa went 0-for-4 and is 1-for-27 in his last seven
games.Cleveland went up 5-2 with a three-run fourth inning. Belliard
hit a one-out double and Peralta walked before Grady Sizemore
doubled in two runs. Crisp then chased Orioles starter Hayden Penn
(2-2) with an RBI single.Penn never pitched above the Double-A level before joining the
Orioles in late May to replace the injured Erik Bedard in the
starting rotation. The rookie was 2-0 after five starts, but over
his last two he has yielded 12 runs and 15 hits in 5 2/3 innings."You're asking a lot of the kid. The kid's 20 years old,"
Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli said. "Let's face it, this is the
big leagues. When you make a mistake, you're going to pay for it."Penn's shortcoming was his inability to keep the ball down and
in the strike zone. He gave up seven hits, and his three walks were
his most in four starts."I didn't feel comfortable out there at all," he said.
"That's two times in a row. You're going to get beat if you don't
execute; I've got to get the ball down and make some pitches."Fasano hit his sixth homer to make it 5-3 in the fifth, but the
Indians pulled away with a four-run seventh. Casey Blake hit a
sacrifice fly and Aaron Boone singled in a run before Peralta drove
in two runs with a single off Steve Reed.That effectively put the lid on the Indians' best month in more
than four years."We're working hard to try to come out here and win this
series," manager Eric Wedge said. "That's really how we approach
it, just from series to series."The Indians got a run in the first when Crisp hit a triple to
right and scored on a grounder by Travis Hafner, his 22nd RBI in 13
games.In the bottom half, Westbrook walked the first two batters and
Miguel Tejada singled to load the bases for Palmeiro, who bounced a
two-run single up the middle.But Westbrook was solid after that."I guess I tried to be a little too fine early. I wasn't being
as aggressive as I probably should've been," Westbrook said. "I
kept it to two runs, and I felt like I did a good job there and was
able to settle down as the night went on."Cleveland used a double by Peralta and an RBI single by Crisp to
tie it at 2 in the third before Penn struck out Blake with two outs
and the bases loaded.
The Orioles announced that Wednesday's rainout against the
New York Yankees will be made up on Sept. 26 at 7:05 p.m. ... Penn
committed the Orioles' ninth balk, most in the majors. ...
Cleveland's Victor Martinez extended his hitting streak to 12
games. ... It was Cleveland's first win at Camden Yards since April