Cleveland takes 'home' opener

Associated Press
A fan holds up a sign during the first inning of Tuesday's Indians-Angels game at Miller Park. The game was played in Milwaukee because of poor weather in Cleveland.

MILWAUKEE - Cleveland superfan John Adams pounded out his familiar drum beat in the Miller Park concourse, and curious Milwaukee baseball fans showed up to politely root, root, root for their adopted home team as the Cleveland Indians beat the Los Angeles Angels 7-6 on Tuesday night.

After sitting through a weekend's worth of snow without playing a game that counted, the Indians finally got to play a home opener of sorts - under a retractable roof some 450 miles away from Jacobs Field.

The Indians' three-game series against the Angels was moved to Milwaukee after a spring storm dumped more than a foot of snow on Cleveland and wiped out four scheduled games against the Seattle Mariners.

Indians players were concerned about being rusty after the layoff, but Cleveland starter C.C. Sabathia was anything but.

Despite not having pitched since Opening Day, Sabathia (2-0) gave up three runs and struck out seven in seven innings.

Former USC Aiken and current Indians reliever Roberto Hernandez loaded the bases with one out in the eighth and was lifted for Aaron Fultz.

Fultz gave up a two-run single to Maicer Izturis that cut the Indians' lead to 7-5, then struck out Gary Matthews Jr. Rafael Betancourt finished the inning by striking out Orlando Cabrera, and Joe Borowski pitched the ninth for his second save, allowing Casey Kotchman's RBI single.

The game ended when pinch runner Erick Aybar was thrown out by catcher Kelly Shoppach while trying to steal second.

It was a victory for the Brewers, who priced seats for all three games at $10 each and were pleasantly surprised at the response - an announced attendance of 19,031 fans.

The Indians brought their mascot, Slider, and paid for Adams and his big drum - a fixture at Indians home games - to come to Milwaukee.

"I think it's great," Adams said. "They started a little too early. I know a lot of people from Cleveland (who) live in Chicago came racing up after work."

But Tuesday's game had a touch of Milwaukee, too, as the chorizo won the sausage mascot race that was held after the sixth inning, just like during Brewers games. And fans seemed too busy doing the wave in the seventh inning to notice that Sabathia had struck out Garret Anderson.

Had the Indians actually played at home Tuesday, they planned to give away replicas of the thick black eyeglasses worn by Charlie Sheen's character in the 1989 comedy Major League to promote the release of a special edition DVD.

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