Tribe falls in extras against Tigers
Loss drops Cleveland to second place in AL Central
CLEVELAND -- Eric Wedge has watched his Indians' beleaguered bats send his club toward one gut-wrenching defeat after another in recent weeks.Finally, on Tuesday night, he sounded like a man fed up. "Enough's enough," Wedge said. "It's as simple as that." The Indians, deadlocked in the standings and, fittingly, on the scoreboard with the Tigers deep into the game, didn't have enough to pull ahead on either front in a 10-inning, 6-2 loss before 37,570 fans at Jacobs Field on Tuesday. In each of the last four innings, the Tribe had a runner in scoring position with an out or less, and not one of those runners made it home. So by the time closer Joe Borowski let four Tigers come home in the top of the 10th, the outcome was clear as could be. The Indians were en route to a one-game dip in the standings and their fourth straight loss in an uninspiring homestand. When it ended, Wedge openly pondered whether his players might be feeling sorry for themselves. "I'm not going to call anybody out," he said. "But I feel it with a couple guys. We'll let them figure that out." For what it's worth, starter C.C. Sabathia claimed he's not feeling sorry for himself. But the Tribe's ace and a number of his fellow pitchers might have good cause to do so. Sabathia has won just two of his last eight starts, through little wrong-doing of his own. He's merely a victim of a circumstance -- that circumstance being an Indians offense in dire need of circulation. The Indians have scored three runs or less in nine of their last 16 games. They have scored two or less in 11 of their last 21. That's the kind of trend that could have a starting pitcher like Sabathia -- who has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts and only won one of them -- ready to be fitted for a straightjacket. But Sabathia -- publicly, at least -- takes the high road. "This is a team game," he said. "We're all in this together." In the first inning, the Indians actually strung together two runs of support for Sabathia. Grady Sizemore gave Wedge's decision to move him to the No. 3 spot of the lineup an early payoff when he jacked a two-run homer off of Jeremy Bonderman into the right field seats to make it 2-0. That marked just the second time in their last 26 games that the Indians have managed to score in the first inning. It would also be the last time the Tribe would score. What more do you expect from a game in which the Indians didn't notch consecutive hits at any point? "That says it all right there," Wedge said. "That's all you need to know." Sabathia gave the Tigers all the opportunities they needed to tie the game in the middle innings. He got hurt by serving up leadoff doubles in the sixth and seventh innings. Both of those runners -- Ryan Rayburn and Marcus Thames -- eventually made it home. The Tigers' ability to get those runs in stood in stark contrast to the Indians' futile approach. They had Ryan Garko aboard with a one-out double in the seventh, but Bonderman retired Jhonny Peralta, intentionally walked Trot Nixon and struck out Josh Barfield. In the eighth, the heart of the order had its chance when Casey Blake and Sizemore drew one-out walks off Tim Byrdak. But Victor Martinez went down swinging, and Travis Hafner's potential RBI single to center was robbed by an outstanding, diving catch by Curtis Granderson. "He made the play," Wedge said of Granderson. "In these types of games against these types of teams this time of year, if you make the plays, you win. If you don't, you're on the flip side." The Tigers didn't need to make any standout defensive plays in the ninth, with the game still tied at 2-2. The Indians had Chris Gomez aboard with a leadoff double, but Fernando Rodney struck out Peralta, Franklin Gutierrez and Barfield in order. "[Rodney] started pumping it in there," Barfield said. "He had a good fastball. Pitchers have been able to make adjustments to us, and we need to make them back." The inability to do so came back to haunt the Tribe in the 10th. Borowski walked the leadoff man, Granderson, and gave up a bloop single to Rayburn to put runners on the corners. Gary Sheffield's RBI single to the gap between left and center brought home the go-ahead run, and Magglio Ordonez brought everybody home with a crushing three-run homer to the porch in left. Ballgame. "[Rayburn] punched a ball into right field," Wedge said, "and it took on a life of its own from there." The Tribe's troubles have also seemed to take on a life of their own. Yet, rather miraculously, the Indians will enter the second and final game of this series with a chance to renew the tie atop the standings. But while Wedge is clear in his claim that "enough's enough," the question arises: Are the Indians tough enough to break out of this funk before the Tigers pass them by for good? "We're going to find out how tough they are," Wedge said. "We'll see."
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.