Belliard, Martinez deliver key hits for Indians

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Before his start at Yankee Stadium a few weeks

ago, Scott Elarton's knees wobbled and his stomach did a few extra

somersaults. That can happen to any visitor in The House That Ruth

Built.

"I know that I felt different there," Elarton said. "And I'm

a seven-year veteran."

Back at Jacobs Field, Elarton's nerves weren't as jumbled

against the powerful New York Yankees.

Elarton contained New York's potent lineup for six innings,

leading the Cleveland Indians to a 6-5 win Tuesday night over the

Yankees, who couldn't stage their third straight comeback.

Elarton (7-5) allowed three runs and four hits as the Indians

won the opener of their three-game series against the Yankees, one

of a handful of teams they're battling for the AL wild card.

The Indians lost three of four in New York early in July, and

during the series Elarton sensed a few of Cleveland's players were

caught up in the Yankees' pinstriped mystique.

"We may have been a little awe-struck," Elarton said. "But

we've proven we can play with any team in this league."

Bob Wickman, Cleveland's fourth reliever, retired Derek Jeter on

a grounder with a runner at second for his 28th save in 32

attempts.

Ronnie Belliard hit a three-run double off an erratic Al Leiter

(1-3), and Victor Martinez homered for Cleveland, which came in 4½

games behind wild-card leader Oakland. The Indians are 34-1 when

they score at least six runs.

Alex Rodriguez hit his AL-leading 29th homer, a two-run shot,

and Tino Martinez had a solo drive for New York, which trailed 6-1

going into the sixth and nearly came all the way back again.

"Our goal every game is to score six," Rodriguez said. "We

just missed. We had a chance with Jeter up, you got to like that."

The Yankees were coming off two straight victories in which they

rallied from four runs down in the eighth inning, becoming the

first team to do so since the 1975 Cincinnati Reds. They couldn't

pull off another one, however, and fell 3½ games behind first-place

Boston in the AL East.

"We had too big of a hole to climb out of," Yankees manager

Joe Torre said.

With New York down 6-1 in the sixth, Gary Sheffield ripped a

shot to left that missed being a homer by inches, thudding off the

top of the 19-foot-high wall. Coco Crisp quickly got the ball into

the infield, holding Sheffield to a long single.

But Crisp couldn't do anything but watch as Rodriguez followed

with his homer onto the home run porch in left, bringing New York

to 6-3.

The Yankees got an unearned run in the seventh, set up by

reliever Arthur Rhodes' first error since June 1, 1998. After Jorge

Posada singled, Tino Martinez hit a comebacker that Rhodes gloved

but threw away at second for his first error in 417 games.

Rhodes, though, squirmed out of the mess by allowing only

Jeter's RBI fielder's choice.

"Arthur did a great job of regrouping," Indians manager Eric

Wedge said. "The bullpen did a fantastic job -- all four of them."

New York closed to 6-5 in the eighth when Sheffield scored from

third on Scott Sauerbeck's wild pitch.

Sauerbeck was trying to throw a curveball to Jason Giambi, but

got his hand caught on his jersey and the ball nearly hit the

backstop on the fly.

"I didn't want to embarrass myself," Sauerbeck said. "But I

guess I did."

Leiter completely lost his control in the third. He walked the

bases full on 16 pitches before Belliard unloaded them with a

double down the left-field line. Third-base coach Joel Skinner

tried to hold up Jose Hernandez, but he ran through Skinner's stop

sign as the Indians went up 5-1.

Leiter walked five in his shortest outing since June 8, 2003,

with the Mets.

"Walking five in 15 batters, something bad will happen,"

Leiter said, "and it did."Game notes
Torre said LHP Randy Johnson will be moved back until

Saturday with RHP Aaron Small opening a three-game set in Toronto

on Friday. ... Wickman has converted 20 straight saves at home. ...

Belliard is batting .364 (20-for-55) with 52 RBI in his career

with the bases loaded. ... The Yankees declined their 2006 option

on CF Bernie Williams, a five-time All-Star and vital part of four

World Series champions in New York. "They did what they felt they

had to do," said Williams, who would have made $15 million next

season. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner went 0-for-4 and was hit by a

pitch during a rehab appearance at Double-A Akron. Hafner, who

hasn't played in the majors since getting hit in the face with a

pitch on July 16, could be activated Wednesday. ... Elarton is the

first Cleveland pitcher to beat the Yankees twice in a season since

Charles Nagy in 2001.