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Published: Saturday, 4/17/2004

Gerut is great Tribe OF is 5-for-5 vs. Tigers

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Cleveland s Jody Gerut cracks a home run off Detroit s Nate Cornejo in the fifth inning. His best-ever five hits in five at-bats also included a single and three doubles. Cleveland s Jody Gerut cracks a home run off Detroit s Nate Cornejo in the fifth inning. His best-ever five hits in five at-bats also included a single and three doubles.
RON SCHWANE / AP Enlarge

CLEVELAND - Jody Gerut never produced more than four hits in a game before last night.

That included his high school playing days.

The Cleveland right-fielder went 5-for-5, including a home run, three doubles, and a single to lead the Indians to a 10-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Gerut, who has feasted on Tigers pitching during his career, accounted for three RBI and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. The rest of Cleveland s lineup seemed to follow his lead as they exploded for a season-high 19 hits. A five-run sixth blew the game wide open for Cleveland.

Victor Martinez went 3-for-4 and also drove in three RBI while five other Indians produced at least two hits apiece in their best offensive effort of the season.

“I did a pretty good job mentally tonight because I wasn t thinking [at the plate]” said Gerut, who began the day with a .214 batting average.

While Gerut provided plenty of offense for Cleveland, Indians ace C.C. Sabathia took care of business shutting down the Tigers lineup. The hard-throwing lefty limited Detroit (6-4) to one run on four hits while fanning five and walking three in six innings.

“He was strong tonight,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said of Sabathia.

“He didn t quite have the control he normally has, but he was still pretty strong.

“The bullpen came in and did a good job.”

Gerut s career night at the plate only enhanced his impressive statistics against Detroit. He s batting .338 with eight home runs and 30 RBI against the Tigers. Eight of his 23 career home runs have come against Detroit.

“Jody had a great night for us,” Wedge said. “He was consistent all night long. Tonight he obviously had a breakout night.”

Sabathia didn t have his best stuff working against the Tigers. He didn t have command of his best pitches as he had during his first two starts that ended disappointingly without decisions.

Yet, he threw plenty good enough to earn his first win of the season.

“I was just a little off tonight,” Sabathia said. “I was not as sharp as I would like to be, but my teammates picked me up and once we scored some runs I felt comfortable.”

In Sabathia s previous two starts the Indians ultimately blew leads after he was replaced on the mound. After the Indians five-run sixth pushed Cleveland s lead to 9-1, Sabathia didn t feel cause for concern about the Indians bullpen blowing another save.

And Sabathia considers defeating their AL Central rivals something to be proud about.

“It s not the same old Tigers, so it feels good to beat a pretty good team,” Sabathia said.

The Indians rocked Nate Cornejo (1-1) for 14 hits, which is the most ever allowed in a game by the starter Detroit right-hander. He was chased off the mound after allowing eight runs while striking out one and walking two in five innings.

Ivan Rodriguez went 2-for-3 and drove in two of the Tigers three runs. The all-star catcher is 6-for-9 with four RBI over the last three games.

“These guys seem to beat us up whether it s in Florida or here,” Detroit manager Alan Trammell said.



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