Kouzmanoff Hits Grand Slam

By: AP
By: AP

Kevin Kouzmanoff may not have seen the irony,
but the Cleveland Indians certainly did.

Kouzmanoff's grand slam highlighted San Diego's five-run 10th
inning, and the Padres beat the Indians 8-3 on Saturday night.

While the Padres were waiting for the big hit, a superb pitching
effort kept them in the game. Cha Seung Baek, Heath Bell and Bryan
Corey held the Indians to four hits. Baek and Bell combined to
retire 23 of 24 hitters, including 19 straight.

Kouzmanoff, acquired from the Indians following the 2006 season,
hit a 1-1 pitch off Edward Mujica (0-1) into the left field
bleachers for his 10th home run of the season and third career
grand slam.

Kouzmanoff's first career grand slam came with the Indians on
Sept. 2, 2006 against Texas on the first pitch he saw in the big
leagues. The third baseman, who put up big numbers throughout his
minor league career with Cleveland, was traded to San Diego for
second baseman Josh Barfield a few months later.

Kouzmanoff didn't view his home run as revenge against his
former team.

"I guess it's kind of bizarre that my first hit was a grand
slam and now I'm playing my old team and I hit a grand slam," he
said. "It's not like I was out there getting payback against the
Indians. I have no negative feelings about the Indians for making a
business decision."

Edgar Gonzalez singled with one out in the 10th and went to
third on Brian Giles' double. After Adrian Gonzalez was
intentionally walked, Tony Clark, battling back from an 0-2 count,
walked on a 3-2 pitch.

"That was a very good at-bat," San Diego manager Bud Black
said. "It was the key to the inning."

Mujica took issue with plate umpire Rob Drake and thought he
struck out Clark on the 2-2 pitch.

"I threw a fastball at the knees," he said. "It was a pretty
good pitch. I think the umpire missed that pitch right there."

Kouzmanoff didn't go to the plate with any grand intentions.

"Fortunately, I got a good pitch to hit and put the barrel on
the ball," he said.

Jody Gerut, another former Indian, had three hits for San Diego.
He singled in a run in the fifth and tied the game with a leadoff
homer off Rafael Perez in the eighth. Justin Huber added a solo
shot in the third.

Ben Francisco started the ninth with a single off Bell (4-3).
Before that, the Indians hadn't had a hit since an RBI double by
Shin-Soo Choo with two outs in the first. Cleveland's previous
baserunner came on Grady Sizemore's walk with two outs in the
second.

After allowing three runs in the first, Baek retired 20 of 21
batters, including the final 16 he faced. The Indians' first was
highlighted by Ryan Garko's RBI single, Choo's double and Jhonny
Peralta's RBI groundout. Casey Blake flied out to end the inning.

"The most important thing was he got the third out," Black
said. "He had all his pitches after the first."

"The first inning was tough," Baek said. "I threw more
strikes after that."

Baek, who threw 116 pitches, made just his fourth start of the
season and third for the Padres. He pitched 4 1-3 innings and 6
innings in his first two starts for San Diego after being acquired
from Seattle on May 28.

"He was throwing his cutter and was using both sides of the
plate," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

Bell retired the side in order in the eighth.

Cliff Lee pitched 6 1-3 innings and left the game with a 3-2
lead, but hopes for his 11th win ended with Gerut's home run. The
left-hander allowed eight hits, struck out six and didn't walk a
batter.

Notes: The teams wore uniforms from 1978. ... Sunday's game
features a matchup of Cy Young Award winners as C.C. Sabathia facesGreg Maddux. ... RHP Fausto Carmona (left hip strain) threw in the
bullpen and will pitch a simulated game Monday. He's expected to
start a minor league rehab assignment next week. ... DH Travis
Hafner (right shoulder strain) has begun swinging in the batting
cage, but it's unclear when he'll be ready for a rehab assignment.
... Huber's homer was the second of his career. The first came off
Arizona LHP Randy Johnson. ... OF Scott Hairston was scratched from
the lineup due to a hyperextended left elbow. Black doesn't expect
him to play in Sunday's series finale.


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