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Indians offense is a hit in 15-10 win over Rays

Cleveland scores 10 in the first four innings. Despite three hits from Wade Boggs, including his 3,000th, Tampa Bay never closes the gap.

In other news Saturday . . .

The Cleveland Indians, in a game that will go down as a footnote to Wade Boggs' historic night, put on their own hitting seminar.

They outlasted an emotional Tampa Bay squad and won 15-10 before a spirited 39,512 at Tropicana Field.

It was the fifth time in 18 games Devil Rays pitchers had surrendered 10 or more runs and their sixth loss in eight games. Cleveland had 19 hits.

"As a pitching staff, we didn't do our job," Rays closer Roberto Hernandez said. "When you score 10 runs in a game, you expect to win it, but we didn't do our job. It would have been much nicer if we had won the game 4-2. That would have been a lot more meaningful. But the way our season is going, we can't have the whole pie."

Indians outfielder Manny Ramirez had five RBI in the first five innings. The major-league RBI leader with 113, Ramirez drove in three runs with a homer in the first, one run with a single in the third and another with a double in the fifth. He also had a walk and four runs.

While camera operators were trying to capture Boggs' quest for 3,000 hits, the Indians opened the game showing exactly how the job is done.

By the end of the fourth inning, the Indians had 11 hits and scored three runs in the first, three in the third and four in the fourth.

The AL's most potent offense showed little regard for who was on the mound. Victim No. 1 was Rays starter Bobby Witt.

After going three innings in his previous start, Witt was hoping for a turnaround and spent the first three innings doing exactly that, routinely looking back for balls flying by him.

After back-to-back first-inning walks to Omar Vizquel and Roberto Alomar, Ramirez hammered a Witt pitch to deep centerfield.

Witt calmed down in the second but gave up three straight hits in the third to fall behind 6-0.

The 12-year veteran probably would lead a very fulfilled life if he never saw Jim Thome again.

Before Saturday, the Cleveland first baseman had a .409 average with five home runs in 22 at-bats against Witt. Thome increased those numbers with two at-bats.

With a runner on first and the Indians leading 4-0, Thome launched a 428-foot home run off the Batter's Eye Restaurant in centerfield. It was the last pitch Witt threw.

"(Witt) doesn't want to go out there and have two outings with inconsistencies," Rays pitching coach Rick Williams said. "But he left balls up in the zone, and a club like that is going to make you pay."

Witt may lead the American League in shutouts, but his early exit should not have come as a surprise. He has not beaten the Indians in eight years, dropping 10 straight decisions.

Witt may have opened the gash, but Bryan Rekar did little to stop the bleeding. The starter-turned-reliever gave up four runs on five hits, committed an error and was done after 1 innings.

The Rays did not flex nearly as much muscle as the Indians but stayed close.

Dave Martinez led off the third with Tampa Bay's first hit. Aaron Ledesma followed with a single, and Terrell Lowery's walk set up Boggs' 2,998th hit, arun-scoring single. When Fred McGriff lined a one-out double down the rightfield line, Boggs scored from first. The rally made the score 6-4, but Cleveland came back with four in fourth.

The Rays got two more in the fourth and one in the fifth to cut Cleveland's lead to 11-7. Then Boggs' memorable two-run homer in the sixth marked not only his 3,000th career hit but cut into Cleveland's lead, making it 11-9.

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