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INDIANS Jake Westbrook stops Athletics' 7-game streak



Published: Wed, July 27, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Grady Sizemore homered in Cleveland's 2-0 win.

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -- Grady Sizemore homered and Jake Westbrook outdueled Oakland rookie Joe Blanton, helping the Cleveland Indians snap the Athletics' seven-game winning streak with a 2-0 victory Tuesday night.

Jeff Liefer hit an RBI double in the second inning for Cleveland only hours after being brought up from Triple-A Buffalo, and the Indians beat the A's for the fourth time in five meetings this year.

Westbrook (8-12) beat the Royals last Thursday to end a three-game losing streak, then held Oakland's streaking offense in check a day after the A's pounded out 14 hits in a 13-4 win.

The Indians turned double plays in the fourth and fifth innings and Westbrook faced the minimum in the first, third, fifth and sixth innings. Bob Wickman allowed consecutive singles to open the ninth inning before recovering for his 25th save in 28 opportunities.

The A's were trying to match their longest winning streak of the season, but instead fell out of the AL wild-card lead after briefly going ahead with Monday's 13-4 victory.

Oakland lost for only the third time in 13 games since the All-Star break.

History lesson

Westbrook had struggled against the A's before this season. He beat Oakland 6-2 on May 29, giving him a 1-5 record and a 5.01 ERA vs. the A's in seven career starts coming into this outing.

He allowed two hits over seven innings, struck out two and walked one.

After winning five of his six starts in June, Blanton (5-9) is winless in four outings this month.

He allowed a double to Coco Crisp with one out in the third before retiring 14 of his final 16 batters. Victor Martinez had a one-out double in the sixth.

Blanton needed only six pitches to retire the side in order in the fifth and nine in a 1-2-3 seventh. He gave way to Jay Witasick in the eighth after allowing three hits and striking out seven with four walks.

Witasick immediately gave up Sizemore's 10th homer of the year, a shot to right. C

risp followed with a walk and fans began to boo Witasick, acquired July 13 in the trade with Colorado that sent popular outfielder Eric Byrnes to the Rockies.

After allowing two walks in the second, Blanton was visited at the mound by trainer Larry Davis and manager Ken Macha. He then gave up the double to Liefer to make it 1-0.

Macha plans to give his young pitchers extra days between starts in the coming weeks to preserve their arms for the stretch run.

Oakland's Mark Ellis went 0-for-4 and had his nine-game hitting streak snapped.

Notes

Wickman earned his 104th career save to move into a tie with Jose Mesa for second place in club history, 25 shy of Doug Jones' franchise record. ... Jay Payton is hitless in his past 15 at-bats for Oakland. ... A's CF Mark Kotsay missed his second consecutive game with a stiff back. The A's might also give him today off and they have an off day Thursday, so he would have plenty of time to recover.




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