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Blanton, Cust lead Athletics past Indians

May 12, 2007 - 6:22 AM OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- Joe Blanton held the fort until the Oakland Athletics' offense solved C.C. Sabathia.

Jack Cust ignited a five-run outburst in the seventh inning with a two-run homer and Blanton tossed seven-plus impressive frames as the Athletics posted an 8-2 triumph over the Cleveland Indians on Friday.

With Sabathia allowing just one run and four hits through six innings, Blanton (4-1) more than kept pace, retiring 15 of the first 16 batters he faced. However, despite yielding just a run and three hits in seven frames, the righthander was involved in a 1-1 duel before the Athletics erupted in their half of the inning.

After Dan Johnson doubled with one out, Cust belted his third homer in two days, a two-run shot on a 2-1 offering that gave Oakland a 3-1 lead.

"It was my first time facing him," Cust said. "He's tough, though. The first couple of at-bats, I was seeing the ball all right, but the ball was kind of getting in on me too much. I finally made the adjustment in the third at-bat, though. I got a decent pitch to hit and didn't miss it."

"That ball was right down the middle," Sabathia said. "It really didn't matter who was hitting. I left it right out over the plate. It was down, but it was right down the middle. It was perfect for him."

Sabathia (5-1) walked Mark Ellis and gave up a single to Jason Kendall before Shannon Stewart plated both runners with a double to right-center field.

Nick Swisher, who agreed to a five-year contract extension earlier in the day, followed with an RBI single, expanding the advantage to 6-1. That spelled the end for Sabathia, who suffered his first loss of the season by surrendering six runs and nine hits in 6 2/3 innings.

"I felt fine," the lefthander said. "I never felt like I lost my stuff at any point in the game. I just made some bad pitches. Locations were bad, and that's what happens with big-league hitters. You put the ball in the wrong spot and they're going to hit the ball hard."

"He was throwing real well," said Johnson, who extended his hitting streak to a career-high 11 games. "It was just the break that we got in the seventh. The check swing that I got to get on base, the Cust home run, and then we were able to keep the inning going and take it from there."

The rally provided more than enough support for Blanton, who left after allowing a leadoff double by David Dellucci and RBI single by Ryan Garko in the seventh. He yielded just two runs and five hits overall, striking out five without a walk.

"Probably not walking anyone was the biggest thing for me," Blanton said. "You're going to have games when you give up hits and games when you're not going to give up a lot of hits. We really try to minimize walks, and if you do give up hits, they're not as costly. That's what I was able to do tonight."

Cust, who homered twice and drove in three runs in Oakland's 17-4 rout at Kansas City on Thursday, capped the scoring for the Athletics in the eighth with a two-run single off reliever Roberto Hernandez. It also completed the first career four-RBI performance for the Cust, who drove in five runs in his first four games after arriving from Class AAA Sacramento.

A first-round pick of Arizona in 1997, Cust is two RBI shy of his career high set in 2003 with Baltimore.

"Guys take different career paths," Cust said. "I was kind of on the fast track early, and then I was kind of sitting around Triple-A for a long time. I was still working hard, getting ready for an opportunity like this, and the A's gave me that chance."

Bobby Crosby gave Oakland a 1-0 lead with a leadoff homer in the fifth, but Garko - who recorded Cleveland' only hit through five innings with a one-out double in the third - forged a tie when he opened the sixth with his fourth blast of the season.

Johnson had three hits and scored twice for Oakland, which has won four of its last five games.

Dellucci went 2-for-4 for the Indians, who lost their third straight and fell to 3-5 on their 10-game road trip.

"We just need to keep working on what we need to do offensively, man by man," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "Garko had a real good night for us and Victor (Martinez) is still swinging the bat well. We just need to get everyone else going. That's where we're at right now."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CLEVELAND 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 7 0
    OAKLAND 0 0 0 0 1 0 5 2 x 8 14 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CLE - C.C. SABATHIA, TOM MASTNY (7TH), ROBERTO HERNANDEZ (8TH) AND
    VICTOR MARTINEZ
    OAK - JOE BLANTON, JUSTIN DUCHSCHERER (8TH), ALAN
    EMBREE (9TH) AND JASON KENDALL

    May 12 12:44 AM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY JACK CUST SCORED DAN JOHNSON AND BOBBY CROSBY.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J CUST ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 2
    OAKLAND 8 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: M ELLIS (.234, 0-FOR-2, BB)

    Indians vs. AthleticsMay 12 12:22 AM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY RYAN GARKO SCORED DAVID DELLUCCI.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, R GARKO ON FIRST, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 2
    OAKLAND 6 TOP, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J BARFIELD (.204, 0-FOR-2)

    Indians vs. AthleticsMay 12 12:01 AM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY NICK SWISHER SCORED SHANNON STEWART.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, N SWISHER ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 1
    OAKLAND 6 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: E CHAVEZ (.252, 1-FOR-3)

    Indians vs. AthleticsMay 11 11:52 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY SHANNON STEWART SCORED MARK ELLIS AND JASON
    KENDALL.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, S STEWART ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 1
    OAKLAND 5 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: N SWISHER (.277, 0-FOR-3)

    Indians vs. AthleticsMay 11 11:50 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY JACK CUST (4) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF C.C. SABATHIA SCORED DAN JOHNSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 1, OAKLAND 3
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: M ELLIS (.234, 0-FOR-2)

    Indians vs. AthleticsMay 11 11:43 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY RYAN GARKO (4) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    6TH OFF JOE BLANTON.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 1, OAKLAND 1
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J BARFIELD (.206, 0-FOR-1)

    Indians vs. AthleticsMay 11 11:15 PM


  • AL
    AT OAKLAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY BOBBY CROSBY (3) TO CENTER WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 5TH OFF C.C. SABATHIA.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 0, OAKLAND 1
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: J CUST (.250, 0-FOR-1)

    Indians vs. AthleticsMay 11 11:07 PM