The Indians' ballpark has become an amusement park

By Tom Withers Associated Press Published:

The Indians' ballpark has become an amusement park of sorts lately as Cleveland's hitters light up the scoreboard with amazing bursts of power and quickness. One minute, it's a carousel, the next, a roller coaster careening down the track.

Tuesday night was no different as the Indians scored six runs in the fourth inning en route to an 11-6 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

Richie Sexson hit a three-run homer to cap Cleveland's six-run fourth and David Justice had three RBI for the Indians, who improved to 23-9 to match the fastest start in franchise history.

"It's fun to watch, man," Sexson said.

Sure it is, if your an Indians fan. Cleveland is averaging over seven runs per game and hasn't scored less than five runs in a game since a 4-1 win at Oakland on April 28 _ a span of 12 games.

"How many, 12?" Sexson asked. "Wow."

Wow is right. And what may be the scariest thing about the Indians is this: injuries have allowed them to play their Opening Day lineup just six times all year.

Wil Cordero went 3-for-4 with two RBI for the Indians, who have 29 homers in their last 15 games and who lead the AL in virtually every offensive category.

"Given the hitters we have in our lineup, I don't think it should surprise anybody," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "This is an explosive lineup. It was like you blinked, and we had six runs on the board. You can't do that every night, but I'd like to."

Bartolo Colon (5-1) again failed to get past the sixth inning, allowing four runs and seven hits. But he made big pitches when he needed to, ending three innings with strikeouts and getting a double play to get out of the sixth.

Jeff Conine homered for the Orioles, who trailed 8-2 after five innings.

Ponson, rocked for eight runs and eight hits in 4 2/3 innings, had little trouble with the Indians' lineup through the first three innings, allowing just two hits. But in the fourth, Cleveland's hitters teed off for six runs and five hits.

Roberto Alomar opened the inning with a double and Ponson appeared to want nothing to do with Manny Ramirez, walking him on five pitches. Cordero, Justice and Travis Fryman followed with RBI singles _ line drives to right, center and left.

Ponson blew two straight fastballs past Sexson, who tried to crush both pitches. He got all of the third one, driving it two-thirds of the way up the left-field bleachers for his sixth homer.

"I'm mad about what I did wrong," Ponson said. "Against Sexson 0-2, I wanted a fastball up and I threw it down. I missed my spot. I wanted to beat the hell out of myself after that."

In the fifth, Justice, batting .476 with four homers and 11 RBI in his last five games, also homered on an 0-2 pitch from Ponson.

Notes: Cal Ripken Jr. went 3-for-6 with a double and scored a run Tuesday in a controlled game at the Orioles' training facility in Sarasota, Fla. Ripken is on the disabled list for the first time in his career with a lower back ailment. ... Cleveland catcher Sandy Alomar will miss two games after having a lubricant injected into his left knee. He had surgery on the knee during the offseason. ... A plane circled the ballpark trailing a sign that said: "Albert & Art _ Now Balti-Morons" _ a dig at former Indian Albert Belle and Art Modell, who took Cleveland's football franchise to Baltimore. Belle went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. ... Cleveland's bullpen got a little healthier as Paul Shuey was activated from the 15-day DL. Shuey, who pitched the ninth, had been sidelined with a strained left hamstring. Ricky Rincon, out since April 26 with an inflamed left elbow, pitched two-thirds of an inning in a rehab stint at Double-A Akron Tuesday night. If all goes well, Rincon could be activated by Friday.

Want to leave your comments?

Sign in or Register to comment.