By STEVE GOLDMAN
For the Star Beacon
CLEVELAND - It may have been Memorial Day. But their 11-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox was one that the Indians would rather forget.
By the late innings, many members of the announced crowd of 31,803 had left the premises, presumably to pursue more interesting things. Like firing up the grill. Or sleeping. For unless you were a fan of the White Sox (33-17) or a sadist, this was a dog of a game, and would have been difficult to sit through even if it hadn't been for the hot, humid weather on Monday afternoon.
Aaron Boone might actually be able to forget the contest. However, if so, it wouldn't happen the way he would like. The third baseman suffered a mild concussion in the third inning when taking a tumble into the photo booth behind the home dugout when chasing a foul ball hit by Juan Uribe.
Boone was able to walk off under his own power. However, he was removed from the game, and was taken to Lutheran Medical Center for examination. He was to be re-evaluated last night and again today.
"He's a gamer," manager Eric Wedge said. "He wanted to go back out there."
At least this time the Tribe (24-26) didn't commit any errors or baserunning blunders. But plenty else went wrong, including a thrashing administered to starter Cliff Lee. As for baserunning, well, when you only manage two hits in the game (consecutive singles by Grady Sizemore and Jason Michaels in the third inning against starter Javier Vazquez), there aren't very many opportunities to mess up on the basepaths.
Lee (3-5, 5.46 ERA), who lost only five games during the entire 2005 campaign, dropped his fifth this year. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings, and gave up seven runs including three homers.
"It looked like Cliff was up and a little bit flat today with his stuff," Wedge said. "He just didn't have it today."
"It seemed like every time I made a good pitch, they fouled it off," Lee said. "I'd make another good pitch; they'd foul it off. I'd try to throw a pitch they would chase, and it would be a ball. It was just one of those days where it seemed like everything went their way and nothing went our way. I feel like I need to do a better job of staying focused and continuing to keep making the pitches, regardless if they foul five of them off in a row. I%u201Ave still got to bear down and make quality pitches."
Jim Thome provided the first long ball. His 432-foot shot to right-center was his first of two on the day, and came on a hanging curve on an 0-2 pitch in the first inning.
Paul Konerko drove a pitch high off the left-field foul pole in the third, and Uribe added a two-run shot moments after Boone's injury. Both of those homers came on 10-pitch at-bats.
Cleveland never really recovered from a four-run first inning. Following Thome's drive, Konerko hit a sharp but playable one-hopper off shortstop Jhonny Peralta's glove for a single. Lee then walked Jermaine Dye, and with two outs, Joe Crede lined a hit to left.
Konerko looked like the proverbial dead duck, as Michaels%u201A throw would have had him by plenty. But the throw hit the lip between the grass and the dirt surrounding home plate, and skipped under catcher Victor Martinez%u201A glove.
Uribe followed with an infield hit to make it 4-0. Second baseman Ronnie Belliard got to the ball at a tough angle but could not maintain his balance.
"It's something that usually doesn't happen to us," Wedge said. "Usually, if we get down early, we're able to creep our way back in or fight our way back, and it just seemed like it took it out of us today, and that can't happen."
Vazquez (6-3, 3.86) lasted six innings. Neal Cotts and Jeff Nelson finished up.
"(Vazquez) is a smart pitcher," Wedge said. "He's got good stuff, but he's able to elevate up and down with his fastball, and add and subtract with it. (He has) a good little changeup and a little cutter that he throws to the lefties, and a little breaking ball that he uses to right-handers. He uses both sides of the plate."
Dye tripled and scored Chicago's eighth run against Jason Davis in the fifth. Thome added another two-run shot against Guillermo Mota in the sixth. Back-to-back two-baggers by Chris Widger and Ross Gload closed out the scoring against Scott Sauerbeck in the ninth.
Goldman is a freelance writer from South Euclid.