Lee Fans 9 As Indians Edge Devil Rays

Sunday, July 1st 2007, 3:41 pm
By: News On 6

CLEVELAND (AP) _ Cliff Lee struck out nine to win for the third time in four starts, and the Cleveland Indians defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 3-2 on Sunday.

Lee (5-4) allowed one run and four hits with two walks in eight innings. The left-hander fanned the side on 13 pitches in the first inning and went on to tie his career high for strikeouts in a game.

Joe Borowski, pitching for the fourth straight day, gave up Delmon Young's sacrifice fly in the ninth before recording his 24th save in 26 chances and 11th in a row since May 13. He has six saves and a win in his last seven outings.

The Indians won for the sixth time in seven games and extended the Devil Rays' season-worst losing streak to seven games. Cleveland has won 10 of 14 overall and Tampa Bay has lost 14 of 18.

Two Tampa Bay errors on one play helped the Indians break a 1-all tie in the sixth against James Shields (6-4), who struck out 10 in 6 1-3 innings but lost his fourth straight start.

Casey Blake and Jhonny Peralta began the go-ahead rally with singles. Travis Hafner then bounced a ball that glanced off Carlos Pena's glove at first base. Second baseman Josh Wilson barehanded it in the air and threw behind Shields covering the bag for the second error, allowing Blake to score.

Shields stopped them from getting more, notching two more strikeouts around Hafner getting caught stealing.

The Devil Rays' right-hander didn't issue a walk, and after opening the season 6-0, has struck out 27 against only one walk during his losing streak.

Shields' stuff frustrated the Indians. Jason Michaels threw his bat to the backstop after striking out to end the sixth, and Kelly Shoppach broke his bat over his knee after whiffing to start the seventh.

Pena put the Devil Rays ahead with a two-out homer in the second. Pena's 18th homer of the season was also the 19th of his career against the Indians and 12th in 30 career games at Jacobs Field.

The Indians loaded the bases with none out in the bottom half, but Shields struck out the bottom three in Cleveland's order _ Shoppach, Ben Francisco and Josh Barfield _ to maintain the 1-0 lead.

Shields struck out two more to start the third before Jhonny Peralta tied it by hitting his 14th homer on a 2-0 pitch.

Cleveland made it 3-1 in the seventh. Francisco doubled with one out, finishing Shields. Shawn Camp got Barfield to ground out, but Grady Sizemore lined an RBI single off lefty Casey Fossum.

Notes: Tampa Bay OF Carl Crawford had two singles to get within two hits of 900 for his career. ... Lee last struck out nine on June 6, 2005, at San Diego. ... Shields has 22 strikeouts in 14 1-3 innings against Cleveland this season. ... All youngsters 14 and under in the crowd of 30,410 got a C.C. Sabathia mitt. The first three games of the series attracted 101,693 and pushed Cleveland's total home attendance over 1 million.