Indians 9, Phillies 5.

March 8, 2008 7:42:02 PM PST
Fausto Carmona pitched three shutout innings, Ryan Garko connected for a three-run homer and the Cleveland Indians beat the Philadelphia Phillies 9-5 Saturday.

Gusting winds led to several mistakes that had fans laughing and players frustrated.

Carmona was all business, however, allowing two hits and striking out three in his second spring start since a poor performance in the 2007 AL championship series against Boston.

"I felt good and was able to keep the ball down," said Carmona, who used a sharp sinker to go 19-8 with a 3.06 ERA in 2007.

After the sharp spring outing, Carmona went to phone his good friend Juan Lara, an Indians minor leaguer who is in Cleveland doing daily rehab work after a near-fatal car crash in November.

Lara suffered a broken arm and vertebra along with severe brain trauma when his SUV was hit by a speeding motorcycle while stopped at a traffic light in the Dominican Republic.

"I miss him a lot, but talk to him every day," Carmona said through interpreter Dennis Malave, a Cleveland coach. "Life and family comes before everything. I was worried for his life. Now, I hope someday he can pitch again. He thinks he can."

Left-hander Travis Blackley, trying to win a spot in Philadelphia's rotation, yielded five runs, four hits and four walks in 1 2-3 innings.

"He's in the mix for a job, but didn't have his command today," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I don't know if the wind made him lose focus, but he wasn't the same pitcher we've seen."

Andy Gonzalez's two-run homer in Cleveland's three-run second gave even the Phillies a few laughs as right fielder Greg Dobbs lost his glove over the fence while trying to catch the wind-blown fly. After a few minutes watching Dobbs sheepishly peer through openings in the padded structure and calling for help, fans cheered when the glove came flying back, courtesy of a stadium worker.

"You're in this game long enough, you'll see it all," Manuel said. "But wind or no wind, you've got to go after the ball and make a play."

Every ball hit in the air was an adventure. Indians center fielder Jason Tyner ran toward left-center on a ball that landed 40 feet behind him, blown to right-center.

The wind and Indians defense kept giving Chris Snelling a chance with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth. Snelling hit a pop that landed inches foul, just behind first baseman Jordan Brown.

Then Snelling hit a foul pop that dropped between bewildered Chris Gimenez at third and catcher Wyatt Toregas.

Snelling finally hit another pop behind second - which rookie shortstop Josh Rodriguez snared with a tumbling effort.

Notes: Garko finished with four RBIs. ... Indians manager Eric Wedge altered his starting lineup after overnight rain left the outfield soggy. David Dellucci, coming off hamstring surgery last summer, was moved from left field to DH and Gold Glove center fielder Grady Sizemore got the day off. ... Phillies pitchers walked 10 and the Indians walked nine, including five by LHP Aaron Laffey in 2 2-3 innings. Phillies LHP Josh Outman also hit two batters.


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