CLEVELAND - Cliff Lee finally got just a little run support. It was enough for the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.
Lee won for the first time in more than a month, allowing one run in his second complete game of the season to give the Cleveland Indians a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners last night.
"He showed why he was the Cy Young winner last year," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu said. "He never kept anything in the middle of the plate. We had a hit every inning, which is hard to do, but we couldn't capitalize on it and put anything together."
Lee (5-9) hadn't won since a three-hit shutout against St. Louis on June 14, when he took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He had lost three straight starts, thanks mostly to a lack of run support. The Indians have scored three runs or less in 11 of Lee's 20 starts.
"We got some runs early," Lee said. "We got a nice lead and I got ahead in the count. That's how you win games."
Lee allowed nine hits, including Ronny Cedeno's solo homer in the fifth inning. He also struck out six and didn't walk a batter. Even after Kenji Johjima singled with two out in the ninth for his third hit of the game Indians manager Eric Wedge gave no thought to removing Lee, who struck out Chris Woodward to end it.
"It was Cliff's game," Wedge said. "He was in control."
The Mariners stranded seven, but didn't get a runner past second base other than on Cedeno's home run.
"When people are on base, that's where you have to bear down and get out of it," said Lee, who is 8-1 with a 3.35 ERA in 12 career appearances against Seattle.
Grady Sizemore, batting leadoff for the first time since May 16, had two hits and drove in a run. He also banged into the center field wall after catching Cedeno's fly ball in the third inning.
"There were some unbelievable defensive plays behind me," Lee said.
Besides Sizemore's catch, Lee was also helped by a dazzling double play in the seventh. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera fielded Cedeno's ground ball in front of second base and made a behind-the-back flip to Jamey Carroll, who threw to first.
"I don't think anyone saw the behind-the-back throw," Wedge said. "I'm glad Jamey Carroll saw it. It would have hit him right in the chest."
Garrett Olson (3-3) allowed three runs in 22/3 innings in his first start since July 4 for the Mariners, who made four errors.
Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a third-inning single, but it was a sloppy first game for the Mariners. First baseman Russell Branyan committed two errors, while pitcher Chris Jakubauskas and Woodward, the third baseman, had one each.
Sizemore singled to lead off the first and scored on Cabrera's double. An error by Branyan helped the Indians in the second. Woodward fielded Ben Francisco's ground ball, but Branyan failed to catch the ball because the sun got in his eyes. Francisco was awarded second when the ball went into the stands. Carroll's double scored Francisco. Sizemore's bloop single to right made it 3-0. Jhonny Peralta added an RBI single in the fifth.