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08/03/08 10:06 PM ET

Francisco looking to build off last at-bat

Cleveland (48-62) at Tampa Bay (66-44), Monday, 7:10 p.m. ET

MINNEAPOLIS -- Maybe Ben Francisco's last at-bat will carry over to two other domes.

After losing two of three in the Metrodome, Francisco and the Indians play under the roof at the Rays' Tropicana Field for the next three games. They are in Toronto starting Friday.

Until homering in his last at-bat Sunday, Francisco had a rough weekend in Minnesota, going 1-for-11. Earlier in the game he struck out with the bases loaded and grounded out with two runners in scoring position. Both ended an inning.

"Baseball is baseball. You've got a job to do and you've just got to go out there and do it," he said.

Francisco still ranks among the league leaders in rookie batting, despite a rough past nine games statistically in which he has gone 8-for-42 (.190) -- but three of those hits cleared the fence.

He entered Sunday's game third among rookies in home runs (10) and RBIs (39) and fifth in average (.272).

"I'd like to be doing better," said Francisco, who won last year's International League batting title, hitting .318 in 95 games with Triple-A Buffalo. "I've had some ups and downs with the bat, but hopefully I can be more consistent the last couple months. My bat's been pretty good most of the year."

Manager Eric Wedge remains confident about his young outfielder.

"He's going through some adjustments. He's been through the league, they know who he is now and people have a book on him now. He just has to make adjustments off that. Overall, he's been doing a good job and handled it well."

Francisco is tied for second among AL outfielders with 10 assists, one behind Baltimore's Nick Markakis.

"Every run is really, really critical, so you got to keep runners off base and help your team win," Francisco said. "Plus, pitchers like that and it fires everybody else up."

Pitching matchup
CLE: LHP Cliff Lee (14-2, 2.58 ERA)
Lee had a bizarre outing against the Tigers on Wednesday -- bizarre from the standpoint that he actually gave up more than a couple runs. In just five innings, Lee was roughed up for six runs on 10 hits with no walks and five strikeouts in a no-decision. Lee gave up two homers. Actually, he cruised through the first two innings, gave up a run each in the third and fourth and was tattooed in the fifth. This marked just the third time this year that Lee gave up more than four runs. He'll look to recover against a Rays team he held scoreless on six hits over six innings July 11.

TB: RHP Matt Garza (9-6, 3.56 ERA)
Garza will be making his 21st start of the season after claiming his ninth win with a complete-game shutout of the Blue Jays on Tuesday night in Toronto. Garza was masterful, allowing no runs on five hits and a walk while striking out five. Garza has a mid-90s fastball that sinks, a curve, a slider and a changeup. He is 0-2 with a 5.85 ERA in four career starts against the Indians.

Cleveland is 48-62 through its first 110 games this year. Last year, the Indians were 62-48 with an eight-game division lead. ... Cleveland is 4-14 in its last 18 road games. ... Grady Sizemore made a diving catch to rob Denard Span and Asdrubal Cabrera made a diving stop before throwing out Nick Punto, both in the first inning Sunday. ... For the first time this year, Jamey Carroll started at third base Sunday. He has started 57 games at second. Andy Gonzalez started at first for the first time. ... Sizemore's double Sunday gave him 56 extra-base hits for the year. He began the day one behind Baltimore's Aubrey Huff and Texas' Ian Kinsler for the league lead. ... The Indians did not commit an error in the MInnesota series.

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Up next
• Tuesday: Indians (Fausto Carmona, 5-3, 4.19) at Rays (Edwin Jackson, 7-7, 4.20), 7:10 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Indians (Jeremy Sowers, 1-6, 5.82) at Rays (Scott Kazmir, 8-5, 2.89), 12:40 p.m. ET
• Thursday: Off-day

Mike Cook is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.