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Published: Friday, 6/25/2010

Phillies complete sweep of Indians

ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHILADELPHIA - Ryan Howard had barely made the short trip to the dugout from first base when gusting wind and rain enveloped Citizens Bank Park.

"It was like a tornado came," Howard said. "I was waiting for the cow to fly through. The winds were really swirling."

Placido Polanco had four hits, Chase Utley and Jayson Werth each had three hits and catcher Dane Sardinha connected for his first career home run for the Phillies.

It was Philadelphia's highest offensive output since scoring 12 runs against Pittsburgh on May 17. Every Phillie scored and reached base at least once.

Joe Blanton pitched effectively into the eighth inning - his second straight strong outing - and might have gone the distance if not for the thunderstorm that pounded the field with two outs in the eighth. It caused a delay of 1 hour, 37 minutes, and fierce winds made putting the tarp on the field difficult for the grounds' crew, but cooled off a 96-degree day.

"It reminded me of back home [in Illinois]," Werth said. "It was like a real tornado."

The Phillies roughed up Cleveland's best pitcher to record their sixth win in eight games. They had two five-run innings, and the 15 hits were their most since recording 17 on May 15 at Milwaukee.

In dropping its fifth straight game, Cleveland showed its ineptitude during a five-run second inning that began with singles by Werth, Raul Ibanez and Wilson Valdez.

Sardinha then grounded to third baseman Andy Marte, but his throw home went off catcher Carlos Santana's glove and rolled to the backstop for the rookie's first error, allowing two runs to score.

"Today, they just blew us away," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "They showed why they've been in the World Series the past two years."

Carmona hit Blanton with a pitch to reload the bases. Shane Victorino drove in a run with a groundout, and Polanco singled in a run. Blanton scored the fifth run on a sacrifice fly.

Carmona lasted four-plus innings, and gave up seven runs - five earned - on nine hits. He walked none and didn't strike out a batter. Carmona allowed five or more earned runs for the only the second time in his 15 starts.

"I felt OK," he said. "I don't know what happened today."

Blanton (3-5) cruised with the run support, tossing a season-high 7 2-3 innings. He allowed three runs and six hits, while walking none and striking out eight. His faltered in the fifth, when Jason Donald hit a two-run home run. Donald had three of Cleveland's six hits.

After a poor stretch that saw his ERA rise to a season-worst 7.28, the right-hander had surrendered three runs in each of his last two outings.

"I changed some things mechanically and am keeping the ball down more," Blanton said. "I just want to keep progressing with every start."

Nelson Figueroa got four outs for the Phillies.

Werth has been especially hot for Philadelphia, going 15 for 38 (.395) in his previous 12 games, after a 3-for-41 (.073) slump. He had three hits for the second straight game.

He said he watched video of a good stretch from last season, and went back to a more balanced stance.

"I was messing around with some different stances," he said. "I did that last year at some point. It helped get me out of wherever I was."

Cleveland claimed infielder Jayson Nix off waivers from the Chicago White Sox and added him to the major league roster. The team also optioned infielder Luis Valbuena and right-hander Jensen Lewis to Triple-A Columbus, and designated RHP Shane Lindsay for assignment to make room for Nix on the 40-man roster.

NOTES: Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was tossed arguing a play at first base in the second inning, his second ejection in three games. ... Phillies starter J.A. Happ (strained left forearm) is scheduled to make his fifth rehab start on June 29, for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... NBA Hall of Famer Moses Malone threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

/AP-CS-06-24-10 1907EDT



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