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Published: Sunday, 5/11/2008

Sizemore clubs 2 HRs for Tribe

BY SHELDON OCKER
AKRON BEACON JOURNAL

CLEVELAND - In baseball, it's all about the numbers.

Last night at Progressive Field, the numbers that counted most were Indians 12, Toronto Blue Jays 0.

But there was other intriguing data:

•Grady Sizemore hit two home runs and a double for 10 total bases and amassed five RBI for the second time in his career.

•Coming into the game, the Tribe had scored eight runs in all of its 2008 first innings combined. Last night, the club scored six in the first.

•The 18 runs scored by the Indians in the first two games of the series, are more than they scored in the previous six games.

Even though the Cavaliers were playing the Celtics at Quicken Loans Arena next door, a crowd of 38,141 showed up at Progressive Field, including more than 4,000 walkups.

''There's been a lot of work behind the scenes,'' Indians manager Eric Wedge said in explaining the offensive outburst. ''These guys have put a lot of effort and thought into what they're doing, and it's starting to pay off in games.'

''You just can't track this game,'' Wedge said. ''Some people think they're smart enough to figure it out, but nobody is. There are no absolutes, no certainties in it. You have to trust the process and go out and play, and that's what we're doing.''

Sizemore set the tone in the first inning, driving a 3-and-2 pitch into the right-field seats for his fifth homer of the year against Dustin McGowan (2-3, 4.47 ERA).

''It's exciting to start the game off that way and get the offense going,'' Sizemore said.

Nine more batters took their hacks before three outs were recorded, with Asdrubal Cabrera leading the way with a two-run single, and Victor Martinez and Casey Blake singling home runs. The other run scored on Ben Francisco's line drive to left for a sacrifice fly.

Sizemore's double in the fourth drove in the Tribe's seventh run, and his home run in the fifth gave him three more RBI. He also scored three times.

Martinez had two hits, three RBI and scored a run; Cabrera singled twice, drove in two runs and scored two, and Blake had two singles, one RBI and two runs.

Altogether, the Indians had 12 hits, and few were wasted, as they batted .545 (6-for-11) with runners in scoring position.

Is there a feeling in the clubhouse that the siege is over?

''We don't focus on it that way,'' Sizemore said. ''We want to approach things the same way every day. We go in every day with a game plan then go after it.

''The atmosphere in the clubhouse is the same whether we're playing the way we want or not. Obviously, there's a sense of urgency, but we don't change our attitude.''

Almost lost in the surprising outburst by the offense was the excellent pitching of Aaron Laffey, who worked seven shutout innings, allowing six hits and only one walk, lowering his ERA to 1.83.

For six innings, the only hits off Laffey (1-2) were Marco Scutaro's leadoff double in the third and Alex Rios' one-out single in the sixth.

After the game, lightly used reliever Tom Mastny was optioned back to Buffalo.

''We don't need as many pitchers right now,'' he said. ''It does me no good to sit around for 20 days without pitching. I'll go down there and work to get better.''

There was no announcement who would take Mastny's place.


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