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Small-ball helps Cleveland end 9-game skid

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Coco Crisp caused more commotion than a runaway
squirrel.

Crisp dived headfirst for a go-ahead bunt single in the eighth
inning that sent Cleveland over the New York Yankees 4-3 on
Wednesday night, ending the Indians' nine-game losing streak.

The Indians rallied for two runs in the eighth, providing an
entertaining end to the 30,605 fans who spent much of the evening
cheering for a squirrel.

"It was the Rally Squirrel. He was our secret weapon," Crisp
said. "They've got the Rally Monkey in Anaheim and we've got our
guy."

The little brown critter ran onto the field in the third inning,
later darting between Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and
Derek Jeter.

He spent the rest of the game on the field. Play was held up
several times, including in the seventh inning with Jeter at the
plate and a runner on second. Several players smiled and grinned at
the sight.

"I don't think I've ever seen a squirrel hang out for entire
ballgame like that," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

The Indians superimposed a team jersey over a photo of the
squirrel on the giant television screen in center. Later, the
squirrel appeared to be eating a peanut while nestling in the
grass.

"I noticed he kept running away from (Gary) Sheffield,"
Yankees manager Joe Torre quipped.

Cleveland trailed 3-2 when Tom Gordon (6-4) walked Ben Broussard
and Casey Blake to start the eighth. Jody Gerut sacrificed both
runners over and Ronnie Belliard's sacrifice fly tied it.

Crisp then laid down a drag bunt past Gordon, diving headfirst
to barely beat second baseman Enrique Wilson's throw.

"My mindset was show some moxie and let's get it done," Crisp
said.

He jumped to his feet after being called safe and pulled off his
helmet.

"I was just so pumped up," Crisp said. "I don't really
remember what I did after I slid. I was just so excited."

Wedge raved about the play.

"Coco did it on his own," he said. "That's what you need in
this situation -- somebody to step up and have the guts to make
something happen."

David Riske (7-2) went 1 1-3 perfect innings and Rafael
Betancourt got three outs for his third save in 10 chances. Gordon
won the first two games of the series and was appearing in his
fourth straight game.

"We felt comfortable sending him out there," Torre said.
"He's our closer in the eighth inning. He's used to being in
trouble and pitching out of it."

Gordon said he anticipated Crisp's bunt, but couldn't get to it.

"I'm disappointed because I didn't get the job done," he said.
"The team fought back to get the lead. I felt fine. I just didn't
make all the pitches."

The Yankees' lead over Boston in the AL East was trimmed to 5½
games when the Red Sox beat Toronto 11-5. Cleveland, which had been
one game behind AL Central-leading Minnesota on Aug. 15, climbed
back to .500.

"It felt great to stop the streak, but hopefully we'll feed off
this game and start a run back the other way," Crisp said.

Kenny Lofton singled for his 2,000th career hit. The Yankees'
DH, who played nine seasons for Cleveland, got a standing ovation
from the crowd and tipped his batting helmet while standing on
first base.

New York lost for the first time in Orlando Hernandez's nine
starts. He changed speeds and confused Cleveland's hitters all
night, allowing two runs on five hits and four walks in six
innings.

Indians starter Jake Westbrook allowed three runs -- one earned --
in six-plus innings.

Lofton and Bernie Williams doubled in the seventh to chase
Westbrook and tie it at 2. Jeter bunted reliever Matt Miller threw
wide of third trying to get Williams, allowing him to score for a
3-2 lead.

Matt Lawton doubled and scored on Travis Hafner's groundout in
the first. It was Hafner's first RBI since Cleveland's losing
streak began.

Hideki Matsui doubled and scored on Wilson's single in the
second to tie it. Crisp singled and scored on Omar Vizquel's double
in the third to make it 2-1.

Game notes
Rodriguez was hitless and 0-for-3 with runners in scoring
position, including a double play. Rodriguez has only six RBI this
month, two in his last 14 games and none since Aug. 19. "It's just
one of those things where hits haven't been coming in those
situations," he said. ... The Indians had lost six straight to the
Yankees dating to 2001. ... Lofton was the DH for just the fourth
time this season. Torre said he wanted to get Williams some time in
center field. ... The Indians acquired Westbrook in the July 2002
trade that sent David Justice to the Yankees. ... Lofton had 1,463
hits with the Indians.