Indians 6, Dodgers 3
Grady Sizemore homered and hit a tying single for the Cleveland Indians, who scored the go-ahead run on a throwing error in the eighth inning by newly anointed opening day second baseman Blake DeWitt in a 6-3 exhibition victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.
The two-time defending NL West champs returned to Dodger Stadium for the first time since Oct. 16, when they beat the Phillies 2-1 in Game 2 of the NL championship series before losing the next three games at Philadelphia.
Leadoff hitter Asdrubal Cabrera capped Cleveland's three-run eighth with a two-run single against reliever Ramon Troncoso, who lost after allowing three unearned runs.
Jamey Wright got the win with an inning of scoreless relief, after giving up a leadoff triple by Brad Ausmus in the seventh. Chris Perez pitched a perfect ninth for the save.
Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings with three strikeouts and no walks. The right-hander, who had only 13 wins over the previous two seasons after winning 19 games in 2007, finished the exhibition season 3-0 with a 1.38 ERA in five appearances - including four starts. His season debut is scheduled for next Wednesday at Chicago.
``I'm ready for the season and I'm very excited about it,'' Carmona said. ``I'm happy about this spring because I'm throwing strikes. I got into a lot of trouble last year because of the walks, so I worked a lot on my mechanics.''
Knuckleballer Charlie Haeger, picked earlier in the day by manager Joe Torre as the Dodgers' No. 5 starter, allowed one run over five innings in his final spring tuneup. The 26-year-old right-hander allowed two hits, struck out four and walked six. The only run against Haeger came on Sizemore's fifth-inning homer.
Haeger finished his spring slate 3-0 with a 2.20 ERA in six appearances, including two starts. His first of the regular season will be either next Saturday or Sunday at Florida.
``I've been waiting for an opportunity like this for a long time, and it's finally here,'' said the right-hander, who made three starts for the Dodgers last season and one for the Chicago Cubs in 2006.
A talk last fall with Torre helped motivate him for 2010.
``We talked at the end of the season and Joe expressed that he liked the way that I threw and the composure that I have on the mound. And that was enough for me,'' Haeger said. ``For a guy like Joe who's as highly regarded in baseball as he is to give you a compliment like that, it definitely gives you the motivation to work hard in the offseason.
Torre also picked DeWitt as his opening day second baseman on Thursday. But before he did, Torre and general manager Ned Colletti had a little fun with him - considering the fact that the calendar said April 1.
``They played it off real well,'' DeWitt said. ``I went into Joe's office and they told me they were going to send me to Albuquerque. I didn't think anything of it. All of a sudden, Ned asked me if I knew what date it was and I told him no.
``Then Joe told me it was April 1 and said: `April Fool. You made the club. You've earned a spot on this team.' So I was pretty excited. My emotions went from real low to real high. That's what you do all that work in the offseason and come to spring training for - to earn a spot on this team and help the team win.''
Cleveland tied it at 3 with a pair of runs in the seventh against George Sherrill. Mike Redmond doubled and pinch-runner Tim Fedroff came all the way home on a passed ball by Ausmus. Brian Bixler walked and scored from second on Sizemore's two-out single.
Carmona had not allowed a run in 17 consecutive innings before the Dodgers pushed two across in the second with RBI groundouts by Casey Blake and Garrett Anderson. Rafael Furcal added an RBI single in the fifth.
NOTES: The Dodgers' clubhouse has a new look, thanks to Colletti, who came up with the idea of having famous quotations from former Dodger players and managers above the lockers from one end of the room to the other. Those quoted include Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax, Roy Campanella, Don Drysdale and managers Walter Alston, Tom Lasorda and Leo Durocher. ... Cleveland pitching coach Tim Belcher and Los Angeles pitching coach Rick Honeycutt were traded for each other during the 1987 season.