The Cleveland Indians finally ran out of late-inning magi
CLEVELAND (AP) _ The Cleveland Indians finally ran out of late-inning magic.
After winning three straight weekend games in Boston with eighth- or ninth-inning comebacks, the Indians lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 7-5 Monday night, leaving the tying runs on base in the ninth.
Cleveland was bidding to stretch its first-place lead to six games for the first time since 1954. Instead, it saw the Brewers climb back within four games in the AL Central.
``We got to the late innings, and it was like, `Uh oh, here we go again. We’re either going to tie it or win it,′ ″ said Cleveland’s Jim Thome, whose 13-game hitting streak ended. ``It just didn’t work out this time.″
The Brewers, winning for only the second time in nine games, outhit the Indians 16-6.
Light-hitting Fernando Vina, batting eighth in the Milwaukee order, led the way with three hits, three runs and an RBI. Jose Valentin, batting ninth, had two hits, scored twice and drove in a run.
``I just haven’t had too many at-bats, and I haven’t been able to get into a comfort zone,″ Vina said. ``Tonight, though, it felt pretty good.″
Milwaukee took a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth, and reliever Graeme Lloyd got Albert Belle to ground out leading off the inning. But Eddie Murray singled and Thome walked, finishing Lloyd. Manny Ramirez greeted Mike Fetters with an RBI single.
``I knew exactly what was going on,″ Fetters said. ``I knew what they had done recently and what they’re capable of doing. All I wanted to do was throw strikes and try to make them hit it at somebody.″
He struck out Paul Sorrento, then ended it by getting pinch-hitter Wayne Kirby to pop out. It was Fetters’ second save.
In the only other AL games played Monday, it was Detroit 10, Seattle 8 and Kansas City 7, Toronto 0.
Ricky Bones (3-1) got the win for the Brewers, giving up four runs and four hits _ two of them homers _ in seven innings.
Charles Nagy (2-1) allowed five runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.
``I just pitched like it was my first time ever on the mound,″ Nagy said. ``I didn’t make any adjustments. I felt like I was in a foreign land. I’m mad at myself right now. I’m smarter than that.″
Vina led off the third inning with a bunt single and scored on Darryl Hamilton’s two-out triple. Kevin Seitzer followed with an RBI single.
The Brewers scored two more in the fifth, sparked by Vina’s leadoff single. An RBI groundout by David Hulse and a single by Turner Ward, who had entered the game after Hamilton strained his hamstring, produced the runs.
Vina’s double off Dennis Cook past diving center fielder Kenny Lofton broke a 4-4 tie in the sixth, and Valentin and Hulse followed with RBI singles.
Vina boosted his average from .148 to .219. Valentin’s improved from .169 to .188.
``It wasn’t their big hitters that hurt Charlie. It was the bottom of the order, the guys hitting under .200,″ Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove said. ``We were flat tonight. We got outplayed. I don’t think it was an emotional letdown. It was good to be home. But we’ve been on the road a long time.″
Ramirez homered for Cleveland leading off the third, his ninth, and Omar Vizquel hit his first home run since April of last year leading off the fourth. Cleveland added two in the fifth on Lofton’s ground-rule double and Vizquel’s sacrifice fly.
The three-run deficit, however, proved to be too much to overcome at the end.
``With our team, three runs is nothing,″ Nagy said. ``We had a chance in the last inning. But you can’t keep putting pressure on your hitters like that. We’ve just got to bear down as a staff.″
Tigers 10, Mariners 8
The Tigers blew a six-run lead, but Kirk Gibson’s two-run homer in the seventh broke the game’s final tie. Cecil Fielder’s eighth career grand slam accounted for more than half the runs as the Tigers took a 7-1 lead in the first inning. Seattle, taking advantage of two Detroit errors, scored six in the third to take an 8-7 lead. Gibson made it 10-8 with a shot off the facing of the upper deck in right field off Rafael Carmona (0-1).
Joe Boever (3-0) won for the second straight day, pitching 2 1-3 innings, and Mike Henneman pitched the ninth for his fourth save.
Royals 7, Blue Jays 0
Kevin Appier, allowed two hits over seven innings, lowered his ERA to 1.98 and became the first five-game winner in baseball as the Blue Jays lost their eighth in 11 games. Appier (5-1) allowed two singles, one an infield hit, struck out seven and walked two. Hipolito Pichardo finished with hitless relief as Kansas City stopped a three-game losing streak.
Wally Joyner, with a single and double, and Greg Gagne, with a sacrifice fly and homer, drove in three runs each. Danny Darwin (1-3) gave up six runs and 10 hits in six innings.