Sowers gets first '07 win as Tribe rolls
Indians' five-run first inning sets tone for lefty's strong outing
KANSAS CITY -- Jeremy Sowers turned back the clock to 2006 on Thursday night. That was the Sowers that went 6-0 with a 1.93 ERA over seven starts from July 22-Sept. 5.Sowers looked like that pitcher again in a 10-3 victory over the Royals. Sowers went seven innings and allowed one run on six hits, all singles, en route to recording his first victory of the season. "He really looked more like his old self out there," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He looked more like himself. Tonight was hopefully a turning point for him."
This is the Sowers the Indians had been waiting to resurface in 2007 after he started the season 0-4 with a 7.13 ERA."I was finally able to get a win," Sowers said. "I actually pitched decent, finally. Whether or not it's a turning point, time will tell. But it's a step in the right direction."
Sowers, the sixth overall draft pick in 2004, threw 59 strikes in 94 pitches before being replaced by Roberto Hernandez in the eighth.
"I trust his ability," Wedge said of Sowers. "This is a kid that does the work and is very cerebral with everything he does. Sometimes as a young player, that can work against you. I think that ultimately he's going to learn a great deal from this [rough] stretch, and hopefully he'll be better for it."The Indians, who scored three runs in the first inning on Wednesday but lost, pounced on Royals left-hander Jorge De La Rosa for five runs in the first. The inning included a Jason Michaels three-run homer, a Ryan Garko two-run single and three walks. "It is probably the most important thing for me to clear my mind and just pitch," Sowers said. "When things aren't going very well, especially over a long course of time, you can think yourself to death real easily about something like that. I've always been probably a little over analytical at times anyway, not even specifically referring to baseball. "So when your team scores some runs right off the bat, it is a lot easier to go out there and throw strikes and try to keep the game simple. When your team scores that many runs for you, especially early, it is important to go out that first inning and put up a goose egg."
In contrast, De La Rosa threw just 44 strikes in 94 pitches, walked a career-high seven and hit a batter in 4 1/3 innings."He walked three guys in that first," Michaels said. "Garko had that two-RBI single in front of me. I just wanted to have a good at-bat. He threw a first-pitch ball, a curveball. Then he threw a fastball, and I just happened to get good wood on it. That was big. We needed that inning, especially with him walking three guys. That was a big inning for us." Victor Martinez singled home Casey Blake in the second, upping his RBI total to 35. Blake's bases-clearing triple in the fifth off reliever Joel Peralta gave the Indians a 10-1 lead and put the game out of reach. "Every time we play here, it's like it is a full moon," said Wedge, whose team rebounded after losing the first two games of the series. "It is unbelievable. Obviously, that Casey at-bat with the bases loaded ended up being a big hit for us." Said Blake: "It was a pretty safe lead. They are capable of coming back. We had confidence that it was pretty much in the bag [then]."
Alan Eskew is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.