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Indians lose in grand fashion

By Mark Bodenrader, MLB Contributing Editor

Indians team report

(Sports Network) - Unlike some previous seasons, the talented-depleted Cleveland Indians have a very small margin for error in 2003, which means they can't afford too many repeat performances of Tuesday night.

To their credit, the Indians did rally from a one-run deficit in the top of the ninth. Milton Bradley led off the inning with a hit against Seattle closer Kazuhiro Sasaki and Karim Garcia walked one out later. Ellis Burks followed with a single to left to plate Bradley with the tying run.

Giovanni Carrara then relieved Sasaki, but walked Josh Bard to load the bases and Bill Selby then singled home Garcia and Burks to put Cleveland ahead 5-3. John McDonald flied out to center to end the rally.

Closer Danys Baez came on for the Indians in the bottom of the ninth, but ran into trouble himself. Randy Winn legged out an infield single to start things and Bret Boone followed with a walk. Edgar Martinez's single up the middle then scored Winn to pull Seattle within 5-4.

A walk to John Olerud loaded the bases for Mike Cameron, who launched an 0-1 pitch over the left field fence for the game-winning grand slam.

"I'm proud of the way we came back," said Indians manager Eric Wedge. "We were playing a good club, and we fought hard to tie it up, but they took it right back from us."

Baez faced five batters in the ninth and they all ended up scoring.

"It just wasn't (Baez's) night," added Wedge. "He was facing quality hitters, and they made him come in to them."

After claiming three saves in his first five appearances this season, Baez has been 0-for-2 in save opportunities since. Tuesday's outing dropped his record to 0-2 and ballooned his ERA from 1.59 to 5.56.

Bradley and Matt Lawton finished with two hits for the Indians, who had their two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2-3 on their 10-game road trip.

Cleveland has dropped five of its last seven games overall to sit at 7-13 on the season. The Indians are off to their worst start after 20 games since the 1993 campaign, when they also began 7-13.

Thankfully, the 1-17 Detroit Tigers are also in the AL Central.

Run production has been the main problem for the Indians, who are third-to- last in the AL in that category with 78. Burks leads the team with 13 RBI.

Strong starts from a couple of hurlers in the rotation have kept the Indians from sinking any lower. Ricardo Rodriguez, who made just seven starts in 2002, is 2-0 through four starts in his second major league season with a 2.08 ERA. Jake Westbrook is just 1-2 on the year, but leads all Cleveland starters with a 1.50 ERA.


The 25-year-old Bradley currently leads the team in batting average (.375), runs (16), on-base percentage (.433) and slugging percentage (.613).


Lawton is batting a dismal .154 so far this season and owns an on-base percentage of .276 and a slugging percentage of .262.


The Indians have two games left in their three-game set with Seattle. Cleveland then finishes its 10-game road trip with a three-game series against the Athletics in Oakland.

04/23 14:34:13 ET

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