Tribal dance: Indians stay hot with win over Blue Jays

TORONTO (AP) -- Travis Hafner had no idea Grady Sizemore was

going to steal home during his at-bat. He just knew not to swing.

Hafner took a two-strike pitch as Sizemore stole home, and

Hafner later hit the first of his two homers as Cleveland beat the

Toronto Blue Jays 9-3 Friday night for the Indians' eighth win in

nine games.

Sizemore got off to a huge lead from third in the first inning

and broke for home before Dustin McGowan (1-2) started his windup.

Catcher Guillermo Quiroz didn't attempt a tag as Sizemore easily

slid in safely for Cleveland's first straight steal of home since

Omar Vizquel at Detroit on May 27, 2003.

"I didn't know what he was doing. I thought maybe he had to run

to the bathroom or something," Hafner joked. "If I had swung and

hit Grady in the face I would have had every woman in America mad

at me."

Sizemore was worried Hafner would kill him.

"I'm sure Hafner was ragging on me after I stole his RBI,"

Sizemore said.

Hafner went for it after noticing the third baseman wasn't even

close to third and seeing that he could get a huge lead. He told

third base coach Joel Skinner that he could do it the pitch before.

"Throughout the at-bat I just kept going farther and farther,"

Sizemore said. "I wanted to see how much they would let me have

before they stopped me. They never did, and I told Skins, `I can

take this."

C.C. Sabathia, who won his fifth straight start, said it pumped

up the Indians.

"That was crazy," Sabathia said. "It definitely helped Travis

out because the guy left a changeup high a couple of pitches


Hafner hit a solo shot off McGowan and added a two-run homer off

Justin Speier in the ninth, his second two-homer game this season

and the seventh multihomer game of his career.

Victor Martinez and Ronnie Belliard also homered for the

Indians, who are less than a percentage point back of the New York

Yankees and Oakland in the AL wild card race. The Indians are a

major league-best 18-6 since July 31.

Martinez had four hits, including a solo homer off McGowan in

the third, and scored four runs.

Sabathia (11-9) allowed three runs and six hits in six innings,

striking out seven. He hasn't lost since July 30.

"He battled even though he didn't have good command of his

fastball," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said.

Toronto has lost seven of eight. Before the game, the team

announced ace Roy Halladay will not pitch again this season after

breaking his leg July 8. The Blue Jays also are missing left-hander

Ted Lilly.

McGowan, who replaced Lilly in the rotation, allowed four runs

and eight hits in five-plus innings. In his previous start, the

rookie gave up a career-worst 12 runs in 4 1-3 innings against


Sizemore led off the game with a single, advanced on a grounder

and wild pitch before stealing home.

"You don't expect a guy to steal with two strikes," McGowan

said. "I should have used my mind a little more and thought about

delivering a strike instead of rushing it because he's not going to

swing at the pitch."

Hafner homered and Ben Broussard added an RBI single for a 3-0


Vernon Wells hit an RBI grounder in the bottom half, but

Martinez's homer made it 4-1 in the third.

Run-scoring singles by Frank Menechino in the fourth and Alex

Rios in the fifth cut the lead to 4-3. Aaron Boone had an RBI

infield single in the eighth, and Hafner and Belliard hit two-run

homers off Speier in the ninth.

Game notes
After Halladay was struck in the left shin by a line drive

off the bat of Texas' Kevin Mench, Toronto initially thought he

would miss four to six weeks. ... Broussard missed an easy popup in

foul territory near first base in the sixth.