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Published: Wednesday, 6/13/2007

Carmona, Indians lose duel to Marlins

ASSOCIATED PRESS

MIAMI - Duly impressed by Fausto Carmona, the Florida Marlins showered Cleveland's young and promising right-hander with high postgame praise.

"There should be a different league for that guy," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

"The word 'electric' certainly applies to him," offered Florida first baseman Aaron Boone.

Yes, Carmona was good. But Scott Olsen was even better.

Olsen allowed three hits in seven innings to outpitch Carmona, and Miguel Olivo's three-run double helped the Marlins beat the Indians 3-0 last night - handing Carmona his first loss since April 13, a span of 11 starts.

"Our starting pitcher threw awesome and ... basically we have nothing to show for it," Indians third baseman Casey Blake said.

Carmona (7-2) sizzled through the first six innings, allowing only two hits and neither of those baserunners went past first.

But Hanley Ramirez and Miguel Cabrera started the seventh with singles, Carmona hit Josh Willingham to load the bases - and two batters later, Olivo's chopper hit the ground a few feet from home plate, got over Blake's head, and rolled all the way into the left-field corner to account for all the scoring.

"I was just looking for a sinker," Olivo said, "and I hit it."

Armando Benitez pitched a perfect eighth for Florida, and Kevin Gregg finished it off for his 10th save in as many chances.

Cleveland's loss, combined with Justin Verlander's no-hitter for Detroit against Milwaukee, left the Indians and Tigers knotted for first place in the AL Central with identical 37-26 records. The Indians held a 4 1/2-game lead on June 1.

"If you look at the last 10 days, we've been in a little bit of an offensive funk," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

Olsen certainly kept them there.

Olsen (5-5) was 1-3 in his previous six starts with an ERA of 5.73 over that stretch. But last night he issued no walks and only allowed one runner to reach third base; David Dellucci was stranded there in the third.

"He pitched like a 15-year veteran," Gonzalez said. "His composure, everything was outstanding."

And with the way Carmona was throwing, Olsen had to be almost perfect. He struck out Jason Michaels to end the seventh, then gave a sweeping fist pump on his way back to the Marlins' dugout - and had more to celebrate in the bottom of the seventh, when Florida finally broke through.

He didn't lobby to go back out for the eighth.

"We've got Benitez and Gregg coming in. I'm good," said Olsen, who'd been battling strep throat. "That's their job. Let them do it."

Carmona allowed only two hits through six innings, one of them a disputed bunt single by Alfredo Amezaga. Cleveland first baseman Travis Hafner insisted he tagged Amezaga, and Wedge unsuccessfully argued with umpire Brian Knight. But Amezaga was stranded.


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