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Colon, Indians Dump Orioles

Bartolo Colon not only continued his impressive pitching, he avoided becoming the latest key Cleveland Indians player to leave a game because of injury.

Colon, momentarily hobbled by a line drive off his right shin, continued his fine second-half play along with Jim Thome to lead Cleveland past Baltimore 5-1 Sunday, extending the Indians' winning streak to six games.

Cleveland opened an 18-game lead in the AL Central and went 28 games over .500 for the first time this season.

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  • Colon (12-4), coming off a complete-game shutout Monday night in Anaheim, allowed one run on five hits over seven innings to win for the fifth time in six decisions since the All-Star break.

    "I don't know if you can expect Bartolo to be dominating every time out, but I certainly have a lot of confidence in him," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "When he is on his game, I sure like our chances."

    Colon, who has a 1.75 ERA since the break, shook off the effects of being hit by a ball lined by B.J. Surhoff in the first inning and pitched into the seventh for the sixth time in his last seven starts.

    "It hurt, definitely, but I was not coming out," Colon said. "After a couple of innings, it stiffened up and right now it is pretty swollen, but I feel good overall."

    Colon admitted he was a little concerned by having to face Albert Belle immediately after being hit.

    "I said, 'Please don't let him hit one like that at me,' " the right-hander said.

    Belle hit a bouncer back to Colon to retire the side.

    The Indians have suffered an unusual amount of injuiries to key players this season. They have played with their opening-day lineup only foutimes and have six players currently on the disabled list.

    Thome hit his 23rd homer to give the Indians a 5-1 lead in the fifth inning off Sidney Ponson (11-8). It was Thome's 15th homer in his last 52 games, during which time he has hit .330 (60-for-182).

    "I feel good at the plate right now, but let's talk about some of the other guys on this team," Thome said. "Bartolo has been outstanding. And all these kids we have called up from the minors because of the injuries, all of them have contributed."

    Manny Ramirez boosted his major-league leading RBI total to 121 with a run-scoring single to give Cleveland a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

    Rookie Dave Roberts led off with an infield single, was bunted to second, took third on a groundout and scored when Ramirez looped a single to right.

    Roberts was playing in place of all-star Kenny Lofton, who came off the disabled list Saturday only to foul a ball off his right foot and leave the game with a bruise.

    An RBI single by Omar Vizquel made it 2-0 in the second inning and Einar Diaz singled home two more in the third for a 4-0 Cleveland lead.

    Brady Anderson tripled into the right-field corner with one out in the fifth inning and scored on Mike Bordick's single off Colon's glove to cut Cleveland's lead to 4-1.

    Ponson yielded five runs on nine hits over five innings and actually lowered his career ERA against Cleveland to 9.97.

    "There's something about that team," Ponson said. "From one to nine in their lineup, they can hurt you."

    Every Indians starter had at least one hit.


  • Since Travis Fryman injured his knee July 3 and went on the DL, Indians third basemen have combined to hit .199 (27-for-136), including .070 (3-for-43) over the last 12 games.
  • Cleveland's Enrique Wilson broke an 0-for-26 streak with a bloop single in the second inning then drew the first intentional walk of his career the next time up.
  • Ponson issued a season-high five walks.
  • Baltimore catcher Charles Johnson entered the game having thrown out 38 percent (27-for-71) of runners attempting to steal, but Cleveland was successful on hree of four attempts.
  • Baltimore went 0-6 in Cleveland this season.

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