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5 games in, and Tribe's 0-for-2009


5 games in, and Tribe's 0-for-2009
TRIBE OPENING WEEKEND 2009

It's still early - very early - but a victory would be nice, especially when ace Cliff Lee pitches.

It did not happen again Saturday.

For the fifth consecutive game, and second with Lee pitching, the Indians lost. The Blue Jays jumped Lee early and rode Roy Halladay to a 5-4 conquest at Progressive Field.

The Tribe has not been 0-5 since 1985. That outfit went 60-102 and finished 39? games back in the American League East.

No rational mind thinks these Indians will finish 39? off the pace in the Central - but one, single, solitary victory would be nice.

The Indians and Washington Nationals (a definite candidate to be 39? back in the NL East) are the only winless teams in the majors. Washington dropped to 0-5 on Saturday with a 5-3 loss in Atlanta.

In other news, the Cavaliers did not practice Saturday as they rested in advance of today's showdown against the Celtics at The Q.

"When you get off to a start like this, everything is going to be times 10," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "You can't feel sorry for yourselves. You can't make excuses. You just have to fight through it.

"This game is hard. It's supposed to be hard. That's what makes it so great."

The Indians refused to go quietly into 0-5. Trailing, 5-1, with two outs and none on in the ninth inning, they loaded the bases against lefty B.J. Ryan. Mark DeRosa, who had been 1-for-21, lined a double to left. Grady Sizemore, coming from first, barely beat the tag at home to make it 5-4.

Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston summoned Jason Frasor. Even though Frasor appeared jittery and otherwise uncomfortable, he managed to strike out Victor Martinez swinging.

"Victor's the guy we want up there," Wedge said. "That kid pitched him pretty tough."

The failure to tie it meant reigning Cy Young winner Lee dropped to 0-2. En route to a 22-3 record last season, he did not lose his second game until July 6 - his 17th start. By then, he had won 11.

Lee gave up four runs on seven hits in five innings. He walked four and struck out five. But he was better than on Opening Day at Texas, his ERA dropping from 12.60 to 9.90.

Whereas nothing positive came from the Texas start, Lee could feel good about not having allowed a run after the first two batters reached in the third. He pitched a scoreless fourth and fifth and departed, trailing, 4-1.

"I feel like he might have found something," Wedge said.

That something is a nasty curveball. The Blue Jays repeatedly flailed at it.

Lee did not need the curve much last season because he could spot his fastball to all four corners, particularly the inside ones. Such command has not been there in 2009.

"I wish I would have started using that pitch earlier in the game," Lee said of the hook. "But it's easy to say that in hindsight."

Last year against Toronto, Lee went 1-0 in two starts. He did not allow a run in 17 innings.

The Blue Jays needed three batters to score Saturday. They added two in the second and one in the third.

As is the case on most fifth days, four runs proved plenty for Halladay. The 2003 AL Cy Young winner and runner-up last season gave up one run on five hits in seven innings. He walked two and struck out seven.

"Halladay was as good as always," Ryan Garko said. "He mixed his pitches well. His curveball was as good as I've seen it in the few times I've faced him."

Garko missed an opportunity to hurt him in the second. With runners on second and third and none out, Garko struck out swinging. Kelly Shoppach followed with a swinging strikeout and Ben Francisco flied to center.

The Indians went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position. They are 5-for-39 in such situations this season.

"We need to get back to controlling the game and not making it so hard for ourselves," Wedge said.

To reach this Plain Dealer reporter: dmanoloff@plaind.com, 216-999-4664

BOX:

Today

What: Indians vs. Toronto Blue Jays.

When: 1:05 p.m.

Where: Progressive Field.

TV/radio: SportsTime Ohio; WMMS FM/100.7.

Pitchers: RHP Anthony Reyes (first start of season) vs. LHP David Purcey (0-0, 2.57 ERA).

Weather: Sunny, 43 degrees.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 14, 2009

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