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Peralta powers Indians victory



Published: Mon, August 1, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



His four RBIs led Cleveland to a 9-7 victory.

SEATTLE (AP) -- Jhonny Peralta is doing an impressive job replacing the popular Omar Vizquel at shortstop for the Cleveland Indians.

Peralta hit a three-run double and finished with a career-high four RBIs, and the Indians held off the Seattle Mariners for a 9-7 victory Sunday.

The 23-year-old Peralta, who hit .326 with 15 home runs and 86 RBIs last season for Triple-A Buffalo while Vizquel was still at shortstop, took over this spring when the Indians decided not to re-sign Vizquel.

Peralta is hitting .298 with 14 home runs and 46 RBIs this year.

"Jhonny has been a very solid player for us," Manager Eric Wedge said. "He's someone who has stepped up in the middle of our lineup and continues to get better defensively and continues to get a better feel for the league. With each day you can see him grow as a major leaguer."

Blake homers

Casey Blake homered for the Indians, who won three of four from the Mariners.

With the score tied 2-all in the second, the Indians loaded the bases against Joel Pineiro (3-7), who has won just once since April 26 -- July 7 at the Angels -- a span of 16th starts.

Aaron Boone singled, and Ben Broussard and Grady Sizemore walked with one out. Coco Crisp then hit a one-hopper to third baseman Adrian Beltre, who threw home for the force. But Peralta cleared the bases with his double just inside the third-base line for a 5-2 lead.

"When I get into a situation like that, I feel it's good to hit it hard," the 23-year-old Peralta said. "It feels great to have four RBIs. It's the first time for me."

The Mariners made three trades over the past two days involving nine players, with six players joining the club.

Pineiro wouldn't use the upheaval in the clubhouse as an excuse for his poor performance.

"It was the same story all over again. I've got no excuses, nothing," said Pineiro, who allowed eight hits and seven runs in five innings. "I'm just getting hit around, walking people. That's why my ERA is so high (6.06) and I'm losing a lot of ballgames."

Rally fizzles

The Mariners loaded the bases with one out in the bottom half of the second but scored just once, on Raul Ibanez's groundout.

Blake hit his 12th homer in the fourth off Pineiro, Ronnie Belliard had a RBI single in the fifth, and Crisp added a sacrifice fly and Peralta a run-scoring groundout in the sixth for a 9-5 lead.

The Mariners, though, rallied back. They scored a pair of runs in the fifth on Mike Morse's groundout and Dave Hansen's RBI bloop single.

Seattle scored two more in the sixth with two outs to pull to 9-7. Ibanez had an RBI double before Richie Sexson walked to end starter Jake Westbrook's day. Beltre greeted reliever Rafael Betancourt with a flyball to center field that Sizemore lost in the sun.

The ball bounced into the seats for a ground-rule RBI double and forced Sexson back to third. He was left stranded.

"I gave up some runs but not the lead. That's what you want to do as a pitcher," said Westbrook (9-12), who allowed seven runs on 11 hits in 52/3 innings.

Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 27th save in 31 chances. He got Ichiro Suzuki to ground out with runners on first and second to end it. It's the third time in his career that Suzuki had a 0-for-6 game.

In the first, Victor Martinez had an RBI single to right field and Jeff Lieber had a run-scoring single to center to give Cleveland a 2-0 lead.

Seattle responded with two-runs in the bottom half, stringing together four straight hits. Jeremy Reed and Ibanez singled. Sexson singled to center, scoring Reed. Beltre hit a run-scoring double.

Westbrook then struck out Morse and got Dave Hansen to line out to second.




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