V-Mart drives in four as Tribe beat Rays

BY foxsports • May 15, 2009

Victor Martinez had four hits, drove in four runs and raised his batting average to .400.

And that was far from the only thing the last-place Cleveland Indians had to feel good about after Thursday night's 11-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

"The guys did a real good job offensively. You saw us spraying the ball around the field," manager Eric Wedge said after his two-three-four hitters - Asdrubal Cabrera, Martinez and Shin-Soo Choo - went 12 for 15, scored eight runs and drove in nine.

"Asdrubal, what a great night," the manager added. "Victor had a great night. Choo had a great night."

Martinez hit a two-run double off James Shields (3-4) in the fifth, an RBI double off Joe Nelson in the sixth and a run-scoring single off Grant Balfour in the eighth.

Choo's career-best, four-hit night included an RBI double off Shields and a two-run homer off Nelson that made it 9-0 in the sixth. He finished 4 for 5, as did Martinez and Cabrera, in support of Fausto Carmona (2-4), who made it interesting after being staked to a nine-run lead.

"Every game, every at-bat, we try and make it quality," Choo said. "I'm more focused with runners in scoring position."

Despite the big lead, Carmona couldn't make it through the sixth, when Tampa Bay scored six times.

Limited to just three baserunners in the first five innings, the Rays finally broke through when B.J. Upton singled leading off the sixth. He stole second and third before scoring on a wild pitch.

Willy Aybar and Gabe Gross drove in runs off Carmona, and Tampa Bay pulled within three on Ben Zobrist's three-run homer off Matt Herges.

Coupled with Wednesday's 4-0 shutout of the Chicago White Sox, the Indians have won consecutive games for only the second time this season. They also won on back-to-back days April 15-16.

Cleveland has been especially tough against Tampa Bay lately. The Indians were one of only two AL teams with a winning record (5-2) against the defending AL champions in 2008, and the Indians are 20-5 against Tampa Bay over the past three years.

"We bring out the best in Cleveland, there's no question," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.

The Indians scored twice in the fourth on RBI singles by Jhonny Peralta and Mark DeRosa and added three unearned runs in the fifth after second baseman Akinori Iwamura booted Cabrera's two-out grounder for an error.

Martinez drove in the first two runs of the fifth with a double over Upton's head in center field. Choo followed with his RBI double to make it 5-0 against Shields, who allowed 10 hits in five innings.

"After the error, I've got to bear down ... keep my emotions in check. I didn't do a good job of that," Shields said.

"Once the floodgates opened," Maddon added, "they really opened."

Carmona limited the Rays to Evan Longoria's first-inning single until the fifth. The right-hander retired 11 in a row before Gross singled and Zobrist walked with one out in the inning.

The runners moved into scoring position when Iwamura grounded out, however Carmona escaped the jam when he got Michel Hernandez to hit another grounder to third. Carmona allowed five runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings.

"He was great those first five innings. As good as we've seen him," Wedge said. "I think sometimes when you get a bigger lead like that you get away from what you're doing. He'll learn from that."


Shields is 0-3 in five career starts against the Indians, the only AL team he has never beaten. ... Rays LF Carl Crawford (bruised right shoulder) and Pat Burrell (sore neck) were both available to pinch hit, but did not get into the game. Maddon said Burrell will have a cortisone shot on Friday and miss the following two games. Crawford said his shoulder was "a little sore, a little stiff," but the Rays are hopeful he'll be back in the lineup Friday. ... With Crawford out, Zobrist started in LF for Tampa Bay. SS Jason Bartlett, who normally bats eighth or ninth, moved up to Crawford's customary No. 2 hole. ... Peralta started at 3B for the first time this season, with DeRosa moving from 3B to 1B for the Indians.

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