Bloop, bunt and bloop isn't Cleveland's usual tack to victory. But against the Boston Red Sox, everything works for the Indians.
Kenny Lofton dropped a bloop single into center field in the ninth inning Thursday, scoring pinch-runner Jeromy Burnitz from third as the Indians defeated the Red Sox for the 13th straight time, 5-4.Typically, the Indians used the long ball to get back into the game. Trailing 4-3 in the eighth, Jim Thome hit a game-tying homer off Roger Clemens. Then in the ninth, the Indians used a little finesse to win their fifth game this season in their final at-bat.
Tony Pena opened the ninth with a bloop double down the right-field line, and pinch-runner Burnitz moved to third on Omar Vizquel's sacrifice. Lofton then hit a floater to center off Mike Stanton (3-2) that dropped in front of a diving Lee Tinsley.
Until Thome's homer, the Red Sox, swept in three games by the Indians in last year's playoffs, appeared on their way to ending Cleveland's dominance.
It used to be very different for Clemens against the Indians. He began his career 18-2 against Cleveland, but is now 0-4 in his last nine starts against the Tribe.
Clemens struck out eight, including Albert Belle three times. Belle was scheduled to serve his two-game suspension today as the Indians play a day-night doubleheader against New York.
Paul Shuey (1-1) got his first major league victory, allowing one hit in two innings of relief.
Orioles 3, Rangers 2
At Baltimore, Brady Anderson moved into a tie for the major-league lead with his 25th home run, and David Wells (4-6) earned his first win in a month.
Rafael Palmeiro also homered for the Orioles, who defeated Texas for only the second time in 10 games this season. Anderson and Palmeiro hit solo shots in the third inning to give Baltimore a 3-2 lead. Anderson's homer tied him with Cleveland's Albert Belle. He also made a key play defensively by throwing out the potential tying run at the plate in the eighth inning.
Wells gave up six hits in 71/3 innings to pick up his first victory in seven starts since May 20. Randy Myers worked the ninth for his 14th save.
Kevin Gross (7-5) took the loss.
Twins 7, Tigers 3
Cecil Fielder's first Tiger Stadium homer in 11/2 months wasn't enough to prevent Detroit from losing its fifth straight game. Fielder's 17th home run of the season, and first at home since April 28, produced a 3-3 tie in the sixth.
But the Tigers couldn't get an out on Roberto Kelly's two-out, bases-loaded grounder in the seventh, allowing Paul Molitor to score. The Twins added two runs in the eighth on Ron Coomer's two-run single and a bases-loaded walk.
Bobby Higginson, batting leadoff for the first time in his career, homered twice for Detroit.
Frank Rodriguez (6-7) went seven innings for the Twins, allowing three runs and eight hits. Omar Olivares (3-3) was the loser.
Mariners 8, White Sox 5
Paul Sorrento and Joey Cora drove in two runs apiece and Seattle, playing without Ken Griffey Jr. for only the second time this season, handed Chicago its sixth straight loss.
Sorrento had three hits, including his 12th homer, and Cora had three hits for the visiting Mariners.
Griffey, injured during Wednesday night's game against Toronto while fouling off a pitch, had hand surgery Thursday. He will be sidelined about a month.
Sterling Hitchcock (6-3) gave up three runs and nine hits in six-plus innings. Norm Charlton pitched the ninth for his 11th save.
The Mariners rocked Chicago starter Kevin Tapani (7-4) for eight runs and 15 hits in 62/3 innings.
Angels 10, Brewers 3
Randy Velarde and Don Slaught drove in three runs as California won at Milwaukee for its 11th victory in 12 games.
The Angels fell behind in each of their previous 10 victories, but this time, they scored early and often, getting two runs in the second, three in the third and four in the fourth. Mark Langston (5-2) allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings.
Brian Givens (1-2) was the loser for Milwaukee, which got a homer from Greg Vaughn, his 20th.
Blue Jays 1, Athletics 0
Pat Hentgen allowed two hits in eight innings, and Ed Sprague tripled home the game's only run as Toronto at Oakland for its fourth straight victory.
Hentgen (7-5) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Ernie Young led off with a double. Hentgen struck out five and walked three before giving way to Mike Timlin, who pitched the ninth for his 12th save.