Sizemore, Indians top Royals

Posted April 23, 2009, at 10:34 p.m.

CLEVELAND — Grady Sizemore greeted reliever Ron Mahay with a tiebreaking, three-run homer in the eighth inning Thursday and the Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 5-2.

Royals starter Gil Meche (1-1) had retired 16 straight batters and took a 2-1 lead into the eighth. An error by second baseman Alberto Callaspo let the tying run score and finished Meche.

Sizemore followed with his sixth home run.

Jensen Lewis (2-2) worked two scoreless innings. Kerry Wood pitched a perfect ninth for his third save in as many chances.

Plate umpire John Hirschbeck was examined in the sixth after getting hit in the mask by Mike Aviles’ foul ball. Hirschbeck dropped to one knee, but stayed in the game. Hirschbeck was struck in the mask three times and once in the foot during the day.

Ryan Garko led off the Cleveland eighth with a double and Tony Graffanino pinch-ran. Ben Francisco bunted for a single and when Meche’s throw skipped away, Graffanino ran through third-base coach Joel Skinner’s stop sign and was thrown out at the plate.

Pinch-hitter Travis Hafner followed with a single and Asdrubal Cabrera hit a grounder that Callaspo misplayed, making it 2-all.

Meche was lifted for the left-handed Mahay, who gave up Sizemore’s home run.

Brewers 6, Phillies 1

PHILADELPHIA — Dave Bush held Philadelphia hitless for 7¤ innings before pinch-hitter Matt Stairs homered off the foul pole, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Phillies 6-1 Thursday.

Several innings after World Series MVP Cole Hamels was forced to leave after getting hit in the left shoulder by Prince Fielder’s line drive, Bush (1-0) became the big story on the mound.

Bush was the sixth pitcher to take a no-hit bid into the late innings this season. All of them got broken up.

Right after third baseman Bill Hall made a tremendous play to preserve Bush’s try, Stairs launched a high fly that hit the pole in right field.

This was the third time Bush took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. Raised in nearby Conestoga, Pa., he gave up two hits in 7 2-3 innings. Bush walked three, struck out four and hit two batters, including Jimmy Rollins leading off the first.

Ryan Braun and Hall homered for Milwaukee and Fielder contributed a three-run double.

Hamels (0-2), also the MVP of the 2008 NLCS, struck out six in the first three innings. One pitch after giving up Braun’s two-run homer in the fourth, Hamels was struck on the front of his left shoulder by Fielder’s liner that went for an infield single.

Hamels said he was OK and did not expect to miss a start.

Cardinals 12, Mets 8

ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols homered twice and Kyle Lohse hung on for another win as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the New York Mets to complete a three-game sweep.

Rick Ankiel homered and doubled twice and Skip Schumaker hit a pair of RBI doubles as the Cardinals punished Livan Hernandez and won their seventh in a row at home. The Mets lost their fourth straight overall.

St. Louis led 11-3 after six innings en route to sweeping the Mets in a three-game series at home for the first time since Aug. 6-8, 2004. Pujols had three hits and scored four times.

Carlos Beltran and Ryan Church homered for the Mets.

Lohse (3-0) jammed his right knee trying to make a play in the fifth and left after the inning ended. Hernandez (1-1) gave up all three homers and allowed seven runs and nine hits in 4¤ innings.

Reds 7, Cubs 1

CHICAGO — Aaron Harang allowed only one unearned run over seven innings and Joey Votto homered, doubled twice and singled, leading the Cincinnati Reds over the sloppy Chicago Cubs.

The Reds went 7-3 on their first road swing of the season, marking the first time since 2004 they’d won three series on the same trip.

Harang (2-2) scattered seven hits in outpitching Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano (1-1), who hasn’t won at Wrigley Field since last Aug. 21. Harang walked one and struck out two, including his 1,000th career strikeout.

Votto tied his career high for hits as the Reds finally put some runs on the board for Harang — he had received one, two and zero runs of support in his first three starts.

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