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Indians post 8-4 victory over playoff-bound Twins

9/27/2002

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins weren't concerned about
losing a game to the Cleveland Indians -- the important thing is
their ace looks ready for the playoffs.

Brandon Phillips had three hits and a career-high four RBI, and
Ryan Drese won his 10th game for the Indians in an 8-4 victory over
Minnesota on Thursday night.

Twins starter Brad Radke was sharp in his final tuneup for the
playoffs, and he will start Game 1 when the American League Central champions
open the postseason at Oakland next Tuesday.

''We got what we wanted out of Radke,'' manager Ron Gardenhire
said. ''He was locked in. He had his stone face on.''

Oakland won its 100th game in clinching the AL West on Thursday.

''We're the underdogs,'' Gardenhire said. ''We're not supposed
to do this. That's fine with us. We'll take that.''

Torii Hunter, who's had a slow second half since playing in the
All-Star game, homered and drove in two runs -- another good sign
for the Twins.

''I'm feeling pretty good,'' said Hunter, who went 0-for-13 and
strained a muscle in his buttocks on Minnesota's last road trip.
''I have to make up for lost time.''

Jim Thome stretched his streak of reaching base to 52 consecutive games and Lee Stevens drove in two runs for Cleveland, which
finished 8-11 against the Twins after winning 14 of 19 meetings
last season.

The Indians (71-88) are trying to avoid losing 90 games for the
first time since 1991, when they went 57-105.

Cleveland's clubhouse is filled with minor league callups, and
manager Joel Skinner was pleased with what he saw over the last 10
days.

''This is the third town on their first big league road trip,''
Skinner said. ''There are a lot of bodies in the clubhouse, but
some of these guys did some things for the first time. There were a
lot of positives.''

The Indians aren't used to watching the playoffs on television, but
they're eager to see the Twins take on the A's.

''When you get to the postseason, anything can happen if you
peak at the right time,'' Thome said. ''The postseason is all about
getting breaks and doing the little things that win games. Both
teams have excellent pitching. The Twins are very, very tough at
home. It's going to be an exciting series.''

Drese (10-9), in his first full major league season, gave up
seven hits, three runs -- two earned -- and two walks in 6 2/3
innings. He struck out three.

Sent to Triple-A Buffalo briefly in August, Drese lowered his
ERA to 6.55 in his second start since being recalled. He was 1-2
with a 9.16 ERA in his first four starts against the Twins this
year.

Minnesota closed to a run when Tom Prince doubled in Michael
Restovich in the eighth, but Phillips hit a three-run double in the
ninth off Kevin Frederick.

Radke, completing his seventh major league season, left with a
3-2 lead after six innings. He gave up four hits and two runs,
striking out six without walking a batter.

A groin pull cost Radke 2½ months this season, but he went 5-2
over his final eight starts and finished 9-5. He failed to reach 10
victories for the first time in his career.

Chris Magruder, Coco Crisp and Phillips each hit run-scoring doubles off
Mike Jackson (2-3) in the seventh inning.

Radke retired the first 10 batters until Phillips hit his first
career triple in the fourth.

Phillips, a top infield prospect acquired by Cleveland in the
Bartolo Colon trade with Montreal in June, hurt his right shoulder
sliding into Corey Koskie's leg at third but stayed in the game and
scored on a single by Stevens.

The Twins quickly tied it on Hunter's 29th homer on Drese's
first pitch in the bottom half. They took a two-run lead in the
fifth on a sacrifice fly by Jacque Jones and a double by Hunter.

Jones, who'd been out with a sprained ankle, made his first
plate appearance since Sept. 17.

Radke successfully worked his way out of the sixth with minimal
damage after loading the bases with none out, allowing only a
sacrifice fly by Stevens that made it 3-2.

Thome, who has five career homers against Radke, struck out and
Karim Garcia popped out to end the inning.

''I thought Brad threw the ball very well tonight,'' catcher
A.J. Pierzynski said. ''That's a good sign.''

Game notes
Cleveland third baseman Travis Fryman didn't play, but he was honored
before the game by the Twins, a longtime rival during his 13
seasons in the AL with the Indians and Detroit. Gardenhire, Jackson
and infielder Denny Hocking presented Fryman -- who's retiring after
this year -- with some fishing gear and a gift certificate for a
local outdoors store. ... Pierzynski's first three at-bats:
strikeout, double play, double play. ... Cleveland made a
season-high four errors.