Martinez's walk-off hit helps Kobayashi to first win

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Masa Kobayashi dropped his head, closed his eyes as though in pain and tried to jog his memory.

Ten years ago, the reliever earned his first professional win while pitching for Chiba Lotte in Japan.

Which team did he beat?

"I can't remember," Kobayashi said through his translator. "But I'll never forget beating the Yankees."

Kobayashi got his first major league win when Victor Martinez's bases-loaded single scored Grady Sizemore from third with one out in the ninth inning and the Cleveland Indians won their season-high fifth straight, 4-3 over New York on Saturday.

Martinez slapped a pitch from Ross Ohlendorf (0-1) into left to bring home Sizemore, who moments earlier came up limping while running the bases. But Cleveland's speedy center fielder scored easily after Martinez came through with his first career walk-off hit.

"When Victor came up," outfielder David Dellucci said, "we knew something good was going to happen."

Martinez's hit was about the only positive thing to go Cleveland's way in the final few innings. The Indians blew a three-run lead on a ball Dellucci missed with a dive and turned into a three-run triple; they lined into an inning-ending double play with runners at second and third; and manager Eric Wedge was ejected on a bad call at second base in the eighth inning.

Still, the Indians prevailed.

"We never felt like we were going to come up empty handed," Dellucci said. "When you have confidence, good things can happen."

Kobayashi (1-0) pitched two innings, escaping a jam in the ninth. One of Japan's premier closers, Kobayashi signed with the Indians in November and is beginning to show why Cleveland outbid several other teams and gave him a two-year, $6.25 million contract.

"It was just a matter of time for him to get comfortable," said Martinez.

Johnny Damon had four hits, Derek Jeter went 3-for-5 and Jorge Posada hit a three-run, pinch-hit triple for the Yankees, who dropped their third straight and now trail not only rival Boston but also Baltimore and Tampa Bay in the AL East.

"We're OK," Damon said. "Nothing has got in our way. With the number of injuries we've had and the bounces not going our way, we still have our heads up. When all is said and done, we're going to get back to normal."

After the game, manager Joe Girardi addressed questions about his pitching staff. He said reliever Joba Chamberlain was not available for Saturday's game without giving a reason and the first-year manager became annoyed with questions about starter Ian Kennedy's status.

Kennedy pitched five innings and remained winless in five starts with an 8.53 ERA.

Sizemore singled with one out in the ninth off Ohlendorf but then twisted his right ankle as he pulled up at second on Dellucci's base hit to right. Trainer Lonnie Soloff hustled onto the field to check on Sizemore, who has played in a major-league high 382 straight games.

Sizemore stayed in after showing Soloff he was OK, and he quickly moved to third on a wild pitch to Travis Hafner.

The Yankees then put Cleveland's DH on intentionally before Martinez lined a 2-1 pitch into left.

With the bases full, Martinez said no one has an advantage.

"There's pressure on the pitcher because he doesn't want to walk you, so he has to throw strikes," he said. "And there's pressure on the batter because you have to get a good pitch to hit and have to hit it hard."

Indians manager Eric Wedge was ejected in the eighth for arguing a missed call. TV replays showed that Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano never had possession of the ball on a force play, and Wedge came storming out of the dugout to argue before getting tossed by second base umpire Derryl Cousins.

The Yankees had their own bad luck in the ninth. Kobayashi gave up a pair of one-out singles but he got Jeter to rip a one-hopper that hit off the back side of the mound and caromed to second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera, who quickly stepped on second and threw to first for the double play.

Jeremy Sowers, called up from Triple-A to start for the Indians, allowed three runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. The 24-year-old pitched his way out of Cleveland's starting rotation last season following an impressive debut in '06. He was optioned to Buffalo late in training camp after finishing behind Cliff Lee for the club's No. 5 starter's job.

He dodged trouble in the fourth and fifth but couldn't get out of a mess in the sixth.

The Yankees loaded the bases on a single, hit batter and walk before Sowers was lifted for Jensen Lewis. The reliever struck out pinch-hitter Cano and got two strikes on Posada before New York's catcher hit a sinking liner to left that Dellucci just missed with a headfirst dive. The ball rolled to the wall for a triple, tying it at 3.

"On a ball like that, you have no time to make a decision," Dellucci said. "Off the bat, it was a ball I felt I was going to catch."

With patience and some well-placed hits, the Indians scored three runs in the second inning off Kennedy.

Game notes
Jeter has a career .352 (137-389) average against the Indians. ... Chamberlain slipped on a wet mound Thursday in Chicago and has been receiving treatment on his hamstring. ... Alex Rodriguez, who missed three games with a strained quadriceps, told Girardi that playing Friday helped loosen up his leg. Girardi, though, gave A-Rod a break from the field and had him DH for the second time this season. He went 2-for-4. ... Indians RHP Jake Westbrook will be out at least one month with a strained lower back muscle. The team initially thought he would only miss two starts. Westbrook received a cortisone injection on Friday. ... The Yankees fell to 3-11 when their opponent scores first. ... Indians closer Joe Borowski will begin playing catch on Monday, the first throwing he's done since going on the DL nearly two weeks ago with a strained triceps.