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Indians 10, Athletics 4

April 30, 1997

CLEVELAND (AP) _ This used to be Albert Belle’s time at Jacobs Field _ two on, two out, tie game in the late innings.

On Tuesday night, the moment belonged to Matt Williams.

Williams, Cleveland’s new cleanup hitter, hit a three-run homer to snap a seventh-inning tie and lead the Indians to a 10-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics.

Williams’ seventh homer of the season and sixth in four games landed in the left-field bleachers, where Belle’s clutch homers used to go. The Indians’ third baseman was already sprinting around first base when it sailed over the wall, and he took a curtain call after his first homer at Jacobs Field.

``That was nice,″ said Williams, who has his average up to .287 after a slow start. ``It’s a wonderful place to play.″

The ovation made it seem like old times, when the Indians of Belle and Kenny Lofton made a habit of late-inning comebacks.

``We’re all having fun,″ said catcher Sandy Alomar, who hit his eighth homer, a two-run shot in the eighth, to make it 10-4.

Brian Giles and Julio Franco also homered for Cleveland, which leads the majors with 47 homers. Boston is second with 36.

Charles Nagy (4-1) allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings, retiring nine in a row after Jose Canseco’s solo homer in the first. The right-hander ran his record to 10-1 after an Indians loss since September, 1995.

Williams flied out in the fifth with two runners on against Ariel Prieto (2-1), perhaps still trying too hard to impress his new home fans. He made up for it in the seventh with a line drive into the seats that scored Omar Vizquel and Tony Fernandez, who both singled.

``I think he’s started to relax and feel a little bit at home and at ease,″ manager Mike Hargrove said. ``He’s starting to understand that he doesn’t have to impress anyone. He just has to be Matt Williams.″

Williams added, ``Sometimes in this game, you have to try easier.″

``He’s a great hitter, now matter where you put it,″ said Prieto, who failed to sneak a 2-0 slider past the four-time NL All-Star.

David Justice, another of the new Indians, went 3-for-5 to raise his average to .375. Justice, acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the Lofton trade, had an RBI double in the first and an RBI single in the third.

Mike Jackson pitched the eighth and ninth for his second save.

The A’s came back from a 4-1 deficit, tying it in the top of the seventh on a solo homer by Scott Brosius, who snapped a streak of 173 at-bats without going deep.

Later that inning, Manny Ramirez through out Tony Batista at the plate on Damon Mashore’s single, cutting down what would have been the go-ahead run for Oakland.

Franco made it 8-4 with his first homer in the eighth. Alomar added a two-run shot against Richie Lewis, who has allowed six earned runs in his last two appearances.

Prieto gave up seven runs and nine hits in 6 2-3 innings.

``This doesn’t tell the whole story,″ said Prieto, whose ERA went from a league-low 2.05 to 3.55. ``I still think I’m going to have a good year.″

Canseco gave Oakland a 1-0 lead with his fourth homer, a shot to left that went almost as high as the lights atop the Jacobs Field scoreboard.

The Indians made it 2-1 in the bottom of the first. Jim Thome singled and Williams doubled, with Thome scoring on a throwing error by Canseco. Justice then doubled home Williams.

Giles, playing center field for the injured Marquis Grissom, hit his fourth homer to make it 3-1 in the second.

Notes: Cleveland got its first victory in a night game at home, improving to 1-4. The Indians are 4-1 in day games at Jacobs Field. ... Brosius, who came into the game batting .165, last homered on Sept. 3 against Dwight Gooden of the Yankees, a span of 44 games. ... Canseco was 3-for-34 (.088) with one home run and nine strikeouts against Nagy when he homered off him in the first. It was Canseco’s 100th career RBIs against Cleveland, his most against any club. ... McGwire is 7-for-35 (.200) with two homers and 12 strikeouts against Nagy. ... Brosius and shortstop Islay Molina collided on Alomar’s popup in the second. Molina made the catch and both players stayed in the game.

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