- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 20, 2005

CLEVELAND (AP) — One swing, and Ben Broussard left to sing.

Broussard homered leading off the 10th inning as the Cleveland Indians kept pace in the American League wild-card chase by rallying for a 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles last night.

Broussard’s homer off Steve Kline (2-4) not only gave the Indians a crucial win, but it ended a personal slump for the struggling first baseman who was scheduled to perform after the game at the House of Blues to promote his self-titled CD.

It was unlikely he would hit a note in his concert as high as the one he delivered at Jacobs Field.

“It was meant to be or something,” Broussard said.

So, it seemed, was Cleveland’s comeback. The Indians trailed 4-1 in the eighth, and were on their way to another loss at home before Casey Blake hit a tying, three-run homer off Todd Williams.

After connecting for his 12th home run, Broussard, who came in batting .217 in his last 30 games and had been benched by manager Eric Wedge, pumped his fists as he rounded the bases. He was mobbed at home plate by his teammates, who pounded him on the head all the way back to the dugout.

Once there, Broussard nearly did a little damage of his own, banging the wall in excitement before heading to the clubhouse.

“That was a big load off my shoulders,” Broussard said. “I’m kind of a mellow person, but I was pretty fired up. That was a huge win for us. I’ve been working hard. I’ve got the blisters to prove it.”

As he dressed afterward, Blake looked at Broussard and shook his head.

“Unbelievable, Benny,” Blake said.

“The Killer Bs,” said Broussard.

The Indians, who entered the weekend 2 games behind Oakland for the wild-card lead, are 14-6 since July 28.

Aaron Boone also homered for Cleveland.

Rookie Fernando Cabrera (1-0) allowed one hit in 21/3 innings for his first major league win.

The Orioles have lost 24 of their last 34 road games, and Kline was willing to accept the blame for this one.

“The team played hard and I went out and stunk it up on three pitches,” Kline said. “The team fought hard for a win, and I cost us.”

After giving up three runs in the eighth, the Indians came back and tied it when Blake snapped an 0-for-10 slump by connecting for his 15th — and most important — homer this season.

Baltimore starter Erik Bedard entered the inning with a three-hitter, but left after giving up singles to Jose Hernandez and Boone. Williams quickly got ahead 1-2 in the count, but Blake battled back and drove a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left.

“I tried to keep it down to get a groundball,” Williams said. “He reacted, and did his job.”

Helped by left fielder Coco Crisp’s error, the Orioles, who were held in check for seven innings by Indians starter Scott Elarton, scored three runs in the eighth to go ahead 4-1.

Elarton deserved a better fate than a no-decision. The right-hander gave up one run and three hits in seven innings, leaving after 94 pitches and the score tied 1-1. He walked one and struck out six.

And for the first time in 11 starts, he didn’t give up a homer. Elarton tied the club record held by Sonny Siebert, who gave up a homer in 10 straight games in 1967.

Boone, who missed the previous three games with a stiff neck, tied it at 1-1 in the fifth with his 11th homer.

The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Miguel Tejada’s RBI single.

Rafael Palmeiro was not in Baltimore’s lineup for the second straight game, sidelined with a sprained right ankle. Palmeiro injured himself on an infield single Tuesday in Oakland and has played only twice since coming back from a 10-day steroid suspension.

A tender ankle was the latest complication for Palmeiro, who can only hope to repair a tarnished reputation.

“Everything has been hard,” he said. “It’s something that I would have never, ever expected. It kind of came out of nowhere and when it happened, I wasn’t prepared for it.”

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