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Rookie Drese wins third straight start for Blue Jays

5/25/2002

TORONTO (AP) -- A pregame hitters' meeting helped the Cleveland
Indians snap out of a slump.

Staked to a 5-0 lead in the fourth, rookie Ryan Drese won his
third straight start as the Indians ended a four-game losing skid
Friday night with a 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Before the game, Cleveland manager Charlie Manuel met with his
hitters for almost an hour to go over the scouting reports. Manuel
said the meeting took longer than usual because his players talked
about ways they could improve their hitting. Cleveland, which
entered the game with a .241 average, had 10 hits in 36 at-bats.

"It worked today,'' Omar Vizquel said of the meeting.
"Hopefully, we can continue. We can't forget because usually when
you have a meeting the first couple of days everybody is like
'Let's go,' then you fall behind again. We have to continue to do
that.''

Manuel also reworked the top of the lineup and it paid immediate
dividends.

Matt Lawton, who was moved from the third spot in the order, led
off the game with a walk. Vizquel, dropped from the top spot,
followed with an RBI triple off Justin Miller (3-2). Ellis Burks
then hit an RBI grounder.

"It was a big relief, man, because we haven't been getting
ahead for awhile,'' Vizquel said. "We felt beat for awhile. We
couldn't get anything going.''

Jim Thome went 3-for-3 with two walks for the Indians, who also
ended a six-game road losing skid.

Drese (5-3) allowed one run and seven hits in 6 2/3 innings. The
26-year-old right-hander, who had lost three straight starts before
his current win streak, struck out five and walked four.

"The offense came up big for us early on,'' Drese said.

The Indians took a 5-0 lead in the fourth on a sacrifice fly by
Vizquel and RBI singles by Burks and Thome.

Miller allowed five runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Toronto's Shannon Stewart ended a career-high 0-for-20 slump
with a double in the fifth inning. Rookie Eric Hinske followed with
an RBI double.

Hinske was impressed by Drese.

"He located his fastball. He kept us off balance,'' Hinske
said.

Tom Wilson had a pinch-hit homer off David Riske in the eighth,
cutting the lead to 5-2.

Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 10th save in 11
opportunities.

Game notes
The Indians have won just three of their last 13 games. ...
Drese allowed just four hits in eight innings of a 4-1 victory over
Kansas City in his last start. ... The Indians have won just four
of their last 16 road games after starting the season 5-1. ... A
woman was struck in the head by a foul ball in the seventh inning.
The Blue Jays said the woman was OK ... Attendance was just 16,385.
... After this series, The Indians and Blue Jays don't meet again
until Sept. 9. ... Toronto Manager Buck Martinez demoted struggling
starter Brandon Lyon to the bullpen. Lyon went 1-3 with a 6.10 ERA in nine starts.