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Updated: Saturday, August 23, 2003 10:08 PM EDT
MLB RECAP
Cleveland Indians
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
7 10 1
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
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Stats: Batting | Pitching
R H E
5 9 0
W Sabathia (12-7)
L Backe (1-1)
S Riske (2)
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CLEVELAND 7, TAMPA BAY 5
 

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (Ticker) -- In a game with six home runs, Casey Blake 's single may have mattered most.

Blake delivered a two-run single to cap a six-run seventh inning and C.C. Sabathia won his fourth straight decision as the Cleveland Indians defeated the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for the second night in a row, 7-5.

Rookies Jody Gerut and Travis Hafner homered in the seventh and Hafner went deep in the eighth for his first career multi-homer game.

"To come back from a five-run deficit was the story of the game," Hafner said. "Tonight was a big win for us."

The Devil Rays also flexed their muscle as Julio Lugo led off the first inning with a home run and Adam Piatt posted his second career multi-homer game.

Tampa Bay held a seemingly comfortable 5-0 lead before the Indians exploded in the seventh.

Gerult hit his 15th homer to right-center field off Rob Bell to start the inning. Ryan Ludwick walked and Hafner homered to left-center to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Brandon Backe (1-1) relieved and allowed a single to Josh Bard , who took second on a one-out wild pitch and moved to third on a passed ball by Toby Hall . Backe's troubles continued when he walked John MacDonald and Coco Crisp to load the bases.

Mark Malaska came out of the bullpen and allowed a run-scoring groundout to Matt Lawton before Jesus Colome took over and was greeted by a two-run single by Blake, who had three hits, that put the Indians ahead to stay.

"Confidence is the key in pretty much everything you do," Blake said. "If you're up there with a good idea, the chances are you're going to get a hit and that's the way it's been going."

Sabathia labored through six innings, allowing five runs and seven hits, including solo homers to Piatt in the fourth and sixth as well as the homer to Lugo. The lefthander walked one and struck out five.

"My breaking ball was good, but my changeup was leaving the yard real quick," Sabathia said. "I just tried to keep it close."

David Riske worked the ninth for his second save.

Tampa Bay has lost four straight games.

"The bullpen came in and didn't get the job done," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "That's been the bugaboo all year."

Bell cruised through six innings, but was unable to retire any of the batters he faced in the seventh. Bell was charged with three runs and five hits.

Lugo became the first Devil Ray to lead off a game with a home run this season.

Piatt, who has six homers this season, had his other multi-homer game on May 26, 2002 for Oakland against Tampa Bay.

Hafner capped the scoring with a homer off Colome in the eighth.


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