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Blue Jays win 4-3; Sabathia struggles



Published: Tue, September 5, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



Hector Luna and Ryan Garko homered for the Tribe.

TORONTO (AP) -- Manager John Gibbons would prefer to not have to use closer B.J. Ryan for more than one inning, yet he keeps doing it.

Ryan pitched two innings for his 30th save, and Vernon Wells and Reed Johnson homered to help Toronto beat the Cleveland Indians 4-3 on Monday for the Blue Jays' third straight victory.

Ryan has 13 saves of more than one inning.

"You hate to do it. You look at [Jonathan] Papelpon and [Mariano] Rivera," Gibbons said of Boston's and New York's closers, who both have injuries.

Protecting investment

Ryan signed a five-year, $55 million contract in the offseason and Gibbons says he wants to protect the investment.

"You want him for five, not one," Gibbons said.

Ryan loaded the bases in the eighth, but he escaped the jam. He finished with 33 pitches.

"It's just the manager's preference," Ryan said. "If they feel the closer can give 11/3, and it won't catch up with him long term, it's fine."

The Blue Jays entered the day two games behind Boston for second place in the AL East. The last time Toronto finished higher than third place was in 1993, when they won the division and the World Series.

With the game tied 2-2, C.C. Sabathia (10-9) walked Aaron Hill to start the sixth and then Wells hit a 0-2 pitch over the right field wall to give Toronto a 4-2 lead. Wells has 31 homers.

Sabathia gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings.

"I had to battle. I didn't have good command," Sabathia said. "I got behind a lot guys. I couldn't get ahead of guys."

Winning pitcher

Brandon League (1-2) pitched an inning for the victory.

Hector Luna and Ryan Garko homered for the Indians, who have lost two straight after winning five in a row.

"We just couldn't get it done," Cleveland's Grady Sizemore said.

Garko's homer off Scott Downs cut it to 4-3 off in the eighth. Ryan relieved and loaded the bases, but escaped the jam as Andy Marte popped up and Sizemore struck out swinging.

Travis Hafner -- Cleveland's leader in home runs and RBI -- missed his third straight game with a bruised right hand. He's day-to-day

Toronto's Jason Phillips hit an RBI grounder in the second and Johnson hit a solo shot off Sabathia in the second. It was Johnson's 12th homer of the season.

Luna led off the fifth with a homer off Toronto starter Shaun Marcum, his first homer of the season. Sizemore and Casey Blake later followed with consecutive singles before Victor Martinez hit a sacrifice fly, tying it at 2.

Notes

Canadian golfer Mike Weir took batting practice before the game and threw the ceremonial first pitch.

Lyle Overbay replaced Phillips at 1B to start the seventh. Overbay missed the previous game because of illness.

Garko placed 1B in place of Hafner.

Ryan has pitched more than an inning in 13 of his saves.




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