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Michaels' late blast lifts Indians past Athletics

Jun 28, 2007 - 8:59 PM CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Jason Michaels picked an opportune time to extend his hitting streak.

Michaels' three-run homer in the seventh inning extended his hitting streak to 11 games and propelled the Cleveland Indians to a 4-3 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Thursday.

Cleveland (46-32) took three out of four games from the A's and moved back into a virtual first-place tie with Detroit (45-31) in the American League Central Division. The Tigers host the Texas Rangers on Thursday afternoon.

"It's tough to win a four-game series against anybody," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "I am really pleased with the way these guys were able to dig it out."

Trailing, 3-1, entering the seventh, the Indians started to put an inning together against Oakland starter Joe Blanton.

Kelly Shoppach led off the seventh with a single to left. Josh Barfield followed with what looked like a single to short right, but Shoppach was running back to first, thinking the ball would be caught.

Right fielder Nick Swisher calmly picked up the ball and threw to second for the force. Pinch-hitter Casey Blake singled to center, ending Blanton's afternoon.

Oakland looked like it might get out of the inning when Swisher robbed Grady Sizemore of a potential game-tying double as he made a diving catch on the warning track in right-center field.

"It looked like it one of be one of those days," Michaels said. "We hit some balls hard, but they seemed to be making all the plays."

With righthander Ruddy Lugo warming in the bullpen, A's manager Bob Geren elected to keep lefthander Ron Flores (0-2) to face the righthanded Michaels.

It would turn out to be a costly decision, as Michaels crushed Flores' 2-1 pitch in the left-center field bleachers for his sixth home run.

"I'm not a home run hitter," Michaels said. "I wasn't trying to hit a home run. I was looking for something over the middle of the plate to take to center field."

Michaels, who went 1-for-4, is batting .395 (15-for-38) during his 11-game hitting streak.

"I just hope to do something to stay in the lineup," Michaels said. "I'm just going out there battling and trying to get on base."

"It was supposed to be a fastball inside that humped over the plate," Flores said. "I'm still fairly new in pitching in big situations and I have to take it as a learning experience."

Paul Byrd (7-3) picked up his first win since May 30 as he allowed three runs while scattering 10 hits in seven innings. Byrd settled down after allowing three runs in the first two innings.

"It's been too long (since I won)," Byrd said. "I had to battle through the first two innings. I thought I got into a groove after that and started pitching better."

Rafael Betancourt pitched a scoreless eighth and close Joe Borowski worked around a pair of singles in the ninth to pick up his 22nd save in 24 opportunities.

The A's had runners on second and third with only one out, but Borowski got Shannon Stewart to pop out to Barfield at second base before retiring Mark Kotsay on a line drive to Sizemore in center field.

"I was feeling good with Kotsay up there," Geren said. "He's been one of our hottest hitters, but we just didn't get it done today."

Blanton took a tough no-decision. The A's righthander, who had won four of his last five decisions, allowed three runs and six hits in 6 1/3 innings.

"(Cleveland) made me throw a lot of pitches," Blanton said. "They did a nice job of getting into our bullpen early today."

It was the second start in a row that Blanton pitched well enough to win but walked away with nothing to show for it. In his last start against the New York Mets, Blanton pitched eight scoreless innings, but the A's ended up losing a 1-0 decision.

"The only frustration is the team hasn't won," Blanton said. "I don't care about my wins personally, I just want to see the team win."

Cleveland scored its first run in the fifth on Sizemore's RBI double. Barfield hit a one-out single and one batter later, Sizemore doubled him home.

Dan Johnson had three hits - including a homer - and Eric Chavez had an RBI single for the A's, who fell to 1-6 on their 10-game road trip.

"I'm not happy with the (record)," Geren said. "But I am happy with the way we played."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    OAKLAND 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 13 0
    CLEVELAND 0 0 0 0 1 0 3 0 x 4 8 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: OAK - JOE BLANTON, RON FLORES (7TH), RUDDY LUGO (7TH) AND JASON
    KENDALL
    CLE - PAUL BYRD, RAFAEL BETANCOURT (8TH), JOE BOROWSKI
    (9TH) AND KELLY SHOPPACH

    HOME RUNS

    Jun 28 2:37 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Athletics vs. IndiansJun 28 2:26 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    THREE-RUN HOME RUN BY JASON MICHAELS (6) TO CENTER WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 7TH OFF RON FLORES SCORED JOSH BARFIELD AND CASEY BLAKE.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3, CLEVELAND 4
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: V MARTINEZ (.315, 1-FOR-3)

    Athletics vs. IndiansJun 28 2:03 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY GRADY SIZEMORE SCORED JOSH BARFIELD.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, G SIZEMORE ON SECOND, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    CLEVELAND 1 BOTTOM, 5TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J MICHAELS (.299, 0-FOR-2)

    Athletics vs. IndiansJun 28 1:29 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY MARK KOTSAY SCORED BOBBY CROSBY.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, M KOTSAY ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 3
    CLEVELAND 0 TOP, 2ND
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: N SWISHER (.278, 0-FOR-1)

    Athletics vs. IndiansJun 28 12:33 PM


  • AL
    AT CLEVELAND - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY DAN JOHNSON (7) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN THE
    2ND OFF PAUL BYRD.
    CURRENT SCORE: OAKLAND 2, CLEVELAND 0
    DUE UP FOR OAKLAND: B CROSBY (.234, 6 HR, 28 RBI)

    Athletics vs. IndiansJun 28 12:27 PM


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

    CURRENT PITCHERS: OAK - JOE BLANTON
    CLE - PAUL BYRD

    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: G SIZEMORE (.281, 13 HR, 36 RBI)
    J MICHAELS (.303, 5 HR, 22 RBI)
    V MARTINEZ (.315, 14 HR, 62 RBI)

    Athletics vs. IndiansJun 28 12:19 PM