But not a pop for Blake as hit streak stopped
CLEVELAND — Casey Blake’s hitting streak came to an end at 26 games but that was about the only thing that went wrong for the Indians on Monday night.
Blake went hitless in four plate appearances to end the majors’ longest hitting streak this season. But his teammates more than picked up the slack in a 10-1 throttling of Philadelphia in Phillies manager Charlie Manuel’s first trip back to Jacobs Field since his final year as Indians skipper in 2002.
Cleveland used a surprisingly strong effort from starting pitcher Cliff Lee and plenty of offense to begin its final interleague series at home with a victory.
Lee, who had been largely ineffective in nine starts since returning from the disabled list, worked one of his best outings of the year, allowing just a run on five hits, while striking out five through seven innings.
It was his most effective effort since a complete-game victory over the Angels in his second start of the year on May 8 and just the second time this season that the left-hander has allowed fewer than three runs.
Lee (4-4, 5.46) won for the second straight time after allowing three runs in five innings of a 7-3 win over the Marlins.
“It does look like he’s moving in the right direction,” said Cleveland manager Eric Wedge. “You’ve seen him slowly progress. He’s definitely more under control with his rhythm.”
Lee, who blanked the Phillies over the first five innings, allowed hits to two of the first three batters he faced before retiring 11 straight. He lost the shutout when reigning National League MVP Ryan Howard hit a one-out solo home run in the sixth inning. By that time the Indians were already in front 6-0.
Lee also got a boost from his defense, with second baseman Josh Barfield, shortstop Jhonny Peralta, first baseman Victor Martinez and right fielder Franklin Gutierrez all making nifty plays.
Gutierrez produced the most impressive highlight, jumping with his back to the wall to snag a drive from Aaron Rowand in the sixth with his glove extended above the wall.
“The defense was great and we scored a lot of runs,” Lee said. “That always makes it easier on the pitcher.
“I felt like I was mixing my pitches up and locating my fastball.”
Cleveland’s offensive standouts were prevalent, with four players — Grady Sizemore, Barfield, Jason Michaels and Kelly Shoppach — producing multihit games.
Shoppach went 2-for-3 with a double and his third home run, driving in a career-high four runs. His three-run shot to left-center off Phillies starter Cole Hamels staked Cleveland to a quick 5-0 lead in the second inning.
Hamels was an unlikely whipping boy, entering the game at 9-2 with a 3.47 ERA and without a loss since May 22.
Sizemore had a hand in unraveling Hamels, who, after a bunt single from Cleveland’s leadoff hitter and a stolen base, allowed two runs, the last on a double from Peralta.
“I was completely off rhythm,” Hamels said of the opening inning. “It’s hard to attack the hitter when you’re playing footsy at first base (with Sizemore).”
The Indians scored five times through the first two innings, chasing Hamels with another run in the fifth. The Phillies left-hander allowed six runs on eight hits over five innings in his briefest outing of the year.
“They jumped out of the gate. We came out flat,” said Manuel, who managed the Indians from 2000-02, leading them to their last playoff appearance in 2001. “They just beat us to the punch.”
Five batters (three Phillies) were hit during the game, including Blake, whose best opportunity to extend the streak came in the third inning when he lined out to right. Cleveland’s third baseman was hit by Hamels in the fifth and grounded out to short in his last at-bat in the sixth.
Blake was on deck in the eighth but Barfield flew out to center to end the inning.
“If it happened it happened,” Blake said. “But it just wasn’t in the cards tonight.”
Blake’s streak eclipsed Ichiro Suzuki’s 25-game string as the big-league’s longest, producing the longest streak by an Indian since Sandy Alomar hit in 30 straight games in 1997. It is tied for the seventh-longest streak in club history.
The Indians maintained their one-game lead in the Central Division standings with the second-place Tigers beating Washington in interleague play.
Contact Chris Assenheimer at 329-7137 or email@example.com.
WHO: Cleveland vs. Philadelphia
WHERE: Jacobs Field
PITCHERS: Stanford (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Kendrick (0-0, 4.50)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM
The Phillies’ Jimmy Rollins gets hit by a pitch from Indians starter Cliff Lee in the fifth inning Monday at Jacobs Field.
Lee turned in one of his best games of the season as the Tribe breezed to a 10-1 win. Rollins was not hurt on the play.