Cleveland bats torture Reds in 9-2 victory
CINCINNATI (AP) - So, this is what happens when a down-in-the-dumps offense faces a down-for-the-count pitching staff.
The hitters win.
Cliff Lee struck out a season-high seven, and Grady Sizemore - one of Cleveland's few dependable hitters these days - drove in a pair of runs with a triple and a single on Sunday, leading the Indians to a 9-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.
The Indians took two of three in the interleague series, giving them a 21-15 advantage since the intrastate rivals started playing in 1997. They'll have a three-game rematch at Jacobs Field on June 24-26.
The series matched the American League's worst offense - Cleveland was hitting only .237 - against the National League's worst pitching - batters were hitting .302 off the Reds' staff. For one weekend, bad hitting beat bad pitching.
''When you get guys on base like that and one hit turns into another, you feed off each other,'' Sizemore said. ''That's something we need to do more of. We don't seem to get that rally going. You need to get two, three or four in an inning and build off that. Hopefully we can take what we did today and keep going.''
The Indians put it away with six runs in the ninth, the first five off Danny Graves. The closer was booed off the field, then yelled back at a fan near the dugout and made a gesture with his hand.
''I don't know what he said,'' said Graves, who has been verbally abused by fans for saying that they shouldn't boo. ''It's not an issue. If they want to cuss at me, fine. One thing I said two weeks ago got blown out of proportion, and now it's way out of proportion.''
Cincinnati has lost 18 of its last 23, falling a season-high 13 games under .500. The Reds haven't won any of their last 11 series - their longest such slump since Pete Rose's gambling scandal in 1989 - and haven't even won back-to-back games in more than a month.
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