Grady Sizemore #24 of the Cleveland Indians hits a solo...

Grady Sizemore #24 of the Cleveland Indians hits a solo home run against the Baltimore Orioles. (April 17, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

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 centerfield.

As he stepped into the box, the noisy ballpark went silent.

"There was a lot going on right there," he said.

The grueling rehab. The hours of practice. The wait.

All of it was over.

Sizemore 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, Sunday to complete a three-game series sweep.

Baltimore has lost seven straight and eight of 10.

Cleveland's hustling All-Star centerfielder 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."

Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner also homered for the first-place Indians (11-4), who have won seven in a row at home and 11 of 13. Fausto Carmona (1-2) allowed one run and five hits over seven innings and Chris Perez pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his fifth save.

But yesterday was all about Sizemore. He hoped to be back for Opening Day, but wasn't quite ready when the Indians broke training camp. He started the season on the disabled list and played in the minors to build strength and confidence.

More MLB news