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Cleveland Indians

Pavano solid in final exhibition win

By Sheldon Published: April 4, 2009

Thankfully for the Indians, spring training games don't count.

Despite rallying for three runs in the ninth to beat the Astros 4-3 Saturday afternoon at Minute Maid Park, the Tribe completed the exhibition season with a 12-20 record. 

The Tribe got strong pitching from three of four pitchers, including starter Carl Pavano, who yielded one run and four hits in five innings.

"Pavano was very good, very efficient,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ""We needed to get other guys in there, so we sent him down the bullpen to get his 75-80 pitches.'' 

Kerry Wood, who had not allowed a run in six spring innings, yielded two in the sixth. Joe Smith struck out the side in the seventh, and Masa Kobayashi and Zach Jackson eached worked a scoreless inning.

The Astros committed four errors, including one in the ninth to give Cleveland a boost. The big hit in the inning was Trevor Crowe's two-run single. 

WHAT IF -- The Indians played a four-game series in Texas last year that featured out-of-control offense by both teams. Each club won twice and scored 39 runs apiece, partly because of a fierce wind that blew toward the fences at The Ballpark in Arlington.

The same conditions probably won't exist this week, but they might.

"That's why you have to prepare for all contingencies,'' Wedge said. "That's why we have a guy like Zach Jackson, who can throw 80-90 pitches.'' 

In other words, if a starter gets knocked out early, Jackson is the ideal type of reliever to send to the rescue. 

ADAPTING -- Cliff Lee struggled with the light and dry air in Arizona, fighting to get the feel and grip of the ball. Will he be able to adjust to more normal climatic conditions in his start Monday? 

"I was thinking about that,'' Wedge said. ""Cliff is a little different from the other guys. This is when he has to draw on his experience and confidence and use it. But he's a tough kid.'' 

ONLY TWO HOURS AWAY -- Tribe operatives will be watching the rotation in Columbus closely, just in case someone falters in Cleveland. The five Triple-A starters: Jeremy Sowers, Aaron Laffey, David Huff, Kirk Saarloos and Jack Cassel

"There will be good competition between those five guys to see which one weill be the first one up here,'' GM Mark Shapiro said. 

MARCHING ONWARD -- The Indians will work out this afternoon at The Ballpark in Arlington.

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