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 Tribe whips Tigers after closed-door session

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PostSubject: Tribe whips Tigers after closed-door session   Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:03 am

04/17/2008 11:45 PM ET

Box >

Bottom of order leads the way
Tribe whips Tigers behind Carmona after closed-door session
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com

CLEVELAND -- Manager Eric Wedge likes to pick his spots when it comes to holding team meetings.

He picked a good time to have one Thursday.

The Indians' loss to the Tigers the previous night was a rock bottom-type affair.

"That," first baseman Ryan Garko said, "was as bad as we've played since I've been here."

And in the wake of Wedge's pregame pep talk Thursday, the Indians turned in perhaps their best performance of this young season. Behind an impressive outing from Fausto Carmona and an awakening at the plate, the Tribe coasted to an 11-1 victory over the Tigers to snap a three-game losing skid and earn a split of the two-game series at Progressive Field.

Headed off to a six-game swing through Minnesota and Kansas City, the Indians had hoped to put this kind of positive punctuation on an otherwise homely homestand.

"We needed a game like this," left fielder Jason Michaels said. "We came out with some fire and determination, and it showed."

It showed early in the eyes of Carmona, who had displayed his wild side in an eight-walk outing against the A's last week. In the first inning of this start, he found himself pitching to Miguel Cabrera with two out and two runners in scoring position.

But when the 10-pitch at-bat ended with Cabrera swinging at a 94-mph fastball on the inside edge of the plate for strike three, Carmona was off and running, as opposed to just being off.

Carmona went on to allow just a run on seven hits with one walk and two strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings.

"I knew my arm was getting away from my body [in the start against the A's]," Carmona said through interpreter Luis Rivera. "In the bullpen, I tried to put my arm behind my body. I concentrated on getting the first strike and getting ahead of the hitters."

The Indians got ahead of the Tigers on the scoreboard in the second.

The bottom of the order, last seen on the side of a milk carton, set the tone against Tigers ace Justin Verlander when Franklin Gutierrez doubled to put two runners in scoring position and Michaels brought home a run with a sacrifice fly. Casey Blake's ground-ball double to right scored Michaels, and, one out later, Jamey Carroll's single scored Blake.

It all added up to a 3-0 lead.

"Our approach was definitely better," Wedge said. "To a man, up and down the lineup, we did a better job with our at-bats."

But they weren't done. In the fifth, Garko smacked a Verlander changeup over the left-field wall for a two-run shot that made it 5-0. That blast all but knocked Verlander, whom the Indians roughed up to the tune of an 8.13 ERA last season, out of the ballgame.

"He has great stuff," Garko said. "You just get lucky sometimes."

Before he left, Verlander nailed Michaels with a fastball to the back, and that might have inspired what happened the following inning. Carmona hit both Ramon Santiago and Gary Sheffield to open the sixth, and both benches were issued a warning by home-plate umpire Jim Wolf.


Carmona, as you might imagine, denied doing anything intentional.

"It was a slider to the first guy," he said. "The second time, I tried to throw my fastball low and in to Sheffield, and it just hit him. I was trying to keep the ball down to get a double play."

Wedge opted not to comment on the matter.

Though the plunkings put Carmona in a predicament, he worked his way out of it with minimal damage. Santiago later came across on Cabrera's sac fly, but when Sheffield tried to score on a Carlos Guillen single, he was gunned down at the plate by a strong throw from Michaels.

And in the bottom of the inning, the Indians' bats broke the game open for good against reliever Zach Miner. Grady Sizemore doubled, Carroll tripled, Travis Hafner hit a two-run shot to the left-field bleachers and Michaels drove in another pair on a single to center.

"We were able to string some hits together," Michaels said. "We had some great at-bats."

Were Wedge's words the impetus? More likely, it was the nightmare of a 13-2 loss that preceded this fortuitous evening.

"If we didn't come out and show some life [Thursday], it would have been bad," Garko said. "[Wednesday's game] had as much to do as anything with us coming out and showing a little fire."

For Wedge, the win was what it was -- a start, and not a total solution to the Tribe's woes.

"They should feed off that and build off it," Wedge said. "[The pregame meeting] wasn't about tonight. It was just about us as a family. We're looking to play baseball the way we do. That was much better tonight."

Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Tribe whips Tigers after closed-door session   Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:37 am

That Sucks! Damn Indians! rant rant rant rant rant rant rant
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