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Gonzalez lifts Reds over Indians in 12th

Jun 11, 2007 - 12:05 AM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Alex Gonzalez picked the right time to break out of a mini-slump.

Gonzalez singled home the winning run in the 12th inning to lift the Cincinnati Reds to a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Sunday in the rubber of a three-game interleague series.

Cincinnati rookie sensation Josh Hamilton kept it a scoreless game in the 12th when he fired a strike on one hop to nail Jason Michaels at home plate on Franklin Gutierrez's sacrifice fly.

"We had to send him," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "We knew he has a strong arm and Gutierrez didn't hit it that well but we have to try."

"As soon as he hit it I knew Josh would throw him out," Cincinnat manager Jerry Narron said. "He's got the best arm in all of baseball. The only question was would he throw a strike on one hop or on the fly."

Gonzalez entered the game hitless in his previous 10 trips to the plate but he delivered the game-winning run with a two-out single up the middle off Matt Miller (0-1) to plate Chad Moeller.

Gonzalez was robbed of a game-winning hit last night when Gutierrez made a spectacular catch.

"Last night he took one away from me. Tonight I got another opportunity," Gonzalez said.

Pinch hitter Moeller doubled with one out and Edwin Encarnacion was walked intentionally in the 12th. After Hamilton hit a long fly to right, Aaron Fultz (3-1) was replaced.

Gonzalez hit the only pitch thrown by Matt Miller, who was called up Sunday, to end it.

Rookie Marcus McBeth (1-0), a converted outfielder obtained from Oakland on April 27, won his first major league game with two scoreless innings in which he allowed just the leadoff walk that set up Hamilton's heroic throw.

"When the game goes that long they have to try," Hamilton said. "It's up to me to execute. I anticipated it. I just tried to stay calm and not rush the throw."

"The emotions are indescribable," McBeth said.

Trot Nixon walked and pinch runner Michaels went to third on a passed ball before Hamilton threw

"I saw Josh play in the minor leagues," McBeth said. "I know he has a good arm and I know how hard it is to make that play. I try to stay even keel but I was shouting and pumping my fist. It was the right man in the right place at the right time."

The teams split the first two games of this intrastate rivalry, which featured the first pick for each in the 2004 draft.

On Sunday, the varsity was in town, as veteran aces Aaron Harang of the Reds squared off against the Indians' C.C. Sabathia.

Sabathia, who had won five straight games, allowed just three hits in nine innings, striking out six and walking one. He retired 14 straight batters at one point before pinch hitter Juan Castro broke up the string with a lead single in the ninth.

Harang lasted seven innings but was just was overpowering, yielding three hits while striking out 10 and walking two. It was the seventh career game with 10 or more strikeouts for Harang, who left after throwing 116 pitches.

The only hits allowed by Harang were a double by Casey Blake, a single to Sabathia and an bunt single by Grady Sizemore. Blake's double extended his career-high hitting streak to 19 games.

Sabathia had two of the Indians' six hits, including a single up the middle off reliever Mike Stanton in the eighth.

Cleveland's best chance to score was in the eighth off Stanton. Sabathia hit his second single with one out, making him 11-for-37 lifetime, and Sizemore followed with his second single. Blake popped to second but Victor Martinez singled to left to load the bases.

Ryan Garko then worked the count full before hitting a short pop off the end of his bat down the first base line. Stanton sprinted to the line but couldn't make the catch but the ball was ruled foul by first base umpire, Marvin Hudson. Stanton struck out Garko swinging on the next pitch.

David Weathers retired the retired the Indians on 10 pitches in the ninth.

Sabathia breezed through the eighth and ninth. He allowed just a single to Jeff Conine and a double to Adam Dunn through eight innings. Juan Castro singled to start the ninth and was sacrificed to second but Sabathia retired Brandon Phillips on a weak pop to first and Dunn on a ground ball.

"I just try to get outs and give my team a chance," Sabathia said. "Harang pitched great too. Give him credit. It was a tough loss not for me but for the team."

Wedge blamed his hitters.

"C.C was battling his butt off," Wedge said. "Without a doubt it was our worst offensive performance/effort all year. I'm the first to admit how hard it is but when you don't have the right approach you get it shoved up your you-know-what for 12 innings."

Cincinnati's Homer Bailey won his debut on Friday night. He was the seventh overall selection in the 2004 draft. Jeremy Sowers, the sixth overall selection in the 2004 draft, had a no-decision on Saturday and was optioned to Class AAA Buffalo with a 1-6 record before Sunday's contest.

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    Indians vs. RedsJun 11 12:18 AM

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    FINAL 12
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    CLEVELAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
    CINCINNATI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
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    CLEVELAND 0 0 0 0 7 0
    CINCINNATI 0 0 1 1 6 0 (FINAL 12)


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    PLAY: F Gutierrez in right field.
    DUE UP FOR CINCINNATI: A Dunn (.251, 1-FOR-4)

    Indians vs. RedsJun 10 5:19 PM
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