CLEVELAND — Grady Sizemore never heard the crowd’s roar.
Striding to the plate for his first at-bat in 11 months on a surgically repaired left knee, Sizemore’s mind raced. His thoughts drowned out a welcoming ovation from fans who couldn’t wait to see him back in Cleveland’s leadoff spot and roaming center field.
As he stepped into the box, the noisy ballpark went silent.
“There was a lot going on right there,” Sizemore said.
The grueling rehab. The hours of practice. The wait. All of it was over.
Sizemore, who attended Cascade High in Everett, homered and doubled in his first game back after major knee surgery last year, and the off-and-running Indians beat the Baltimore Orioles, 4-2, on Sunday to complete a three-game series sweep. Baltimore has lost seven straight.
Cleveland’s hustling three-time All-Star center fielder and leadoff man, Sizemore hadn’t played since last May, when he was forced to have microfracture surgery on his left knee. Finally healthy, he homered in his second at-bat off Brad Bergeson (0-2) and doubled in the fifth.
“I just wanted to go up there, have good at-bats, help the team and get a win,” Sizemore said. “I was definitely nervous.”
It hardly showed. Sizemore made the most of a day he had been building toward for months.
Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner also homered for the first-place Indians, who have won seven in a row at home and 11 of 13. Fausto Carmona (1-2) worked seven strong innings, allowing one earned run and five hits. Chris Perez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save.
Brian Roberts went 3-for-4 for the Orioles, who have lost eight of 10, effectively erasing their 4-0 start. Baltimore has scored just 17 runs in its slide.