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Colon tosses eight solid innings in Indians' win

5/15/2002

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Bartolo Colon found that sometimes it's just as
good to be overprotective as overpowering.

Colon, who blew a win last week when he gave up three
late-inning homers, pitched eight strong innings and Russell
Branyan finally delivered with the bases loaded to give the
Cleveland Indians a 3-1 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on
Wednesday night.

Colon (5-3) allowed one run -- Chris Singleton's homer -- and
seven hits as the Indians followed a dramatic win with a more
traditional one in handing the Orioles their fourth straight loss.

The right-hander had blown a 3-0 lead in Kansas City last week,
giving up solo homers in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings
before losing 5-3.

He wasn't going to make the same mistake.

"I was careful," Colon said. "I didn't want to make any
mistakes with the score 1-1. Any mistakes and we're going to lose.
I had a plan with every pitch I made."

Branyan hit a sacrifice fly during a crazy eighth inning off
Rick Bauer (1-1) when the Indians snapped a 1-1 tie.

Cleveland loaded the bases on two singles, a passed ball and a
walk before Branyan, who had been 0-for-6 with the bases loaded and
had left 14 runners in scoring position in those spots this season,
hit his sacrifice fly to deep center.

The Indians entered batting just .156 (5-for-32) with the bases
loaded.

Cleveland added a run in the inning when Jim Thome scored on
Bauer's wild pitch.

"I was garbage that inning," Bauer said. "The passed ball
killed me. I threw a slider 10 feet outside. It just wasn't there.
It's just garbage, terrible."

Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his eighth save as Cleveland
improved to just 3-18 in when scoring three runs or less.

"We finally got a couple breaks," said Omar Vizquel, who had
two hits and is batting .443 (27-for-61) in his last 17 games.
"That was a good win for us. We were patient and Bartolo was great
again."

One of the AL's premier power pitchers, Colon didn't record a
strikeout until the eighth when he fanned Mike Bordick. Colon
hadn't struck out any of the previous 37 batters he faced before
getting Bordick.

After giving up a single to Singleton, Colon then struck out
David Segui to end the inning and pumped his fist as he left the
mound.

Colon has worked into the eighth inning in five of his nine
starts, and has allowed just seven runs in his last five outings to
lower his ERA to 2.77.

"When I first came up, he threw 100 mph, but it was straight,"
Orioles second baseman Jerry Hairston said of Colon. "Now, he's
throwing 94-95 and he's running it, sinking it and cutting it a
little bit. That's tough. He's a great pitcher."

Singleton tied it 1-1 in the sixth with a leadoff homer, his
first in 123 at-bats this season and first with Baltimore since
coming over in a trade with Chicago this winter.

Colon grooved a 2-0 fastball to Singleton, who hit it into the
seats in right-center.

Vizquel, whose RBI double ignited Cleveland's four-run ninth
inning rally on Tuesday, led off the first with a double off rookie
starter Rodrigo Lopez and moved up on a groundout.

With two outs, Vizquel, who was thrown out trying a straight
steal of home against the Orioles last week, was dancing off the
bag at third when Lopez attempted to pick him off.

But Lopez's throw was nowhere close to the base, sailing over
third baseman Tony Batista's head and down the third-base line,
allowing Vizquel to score.

"I always try to do that," Vizquel said. "I'll try to make a
little break and get the pitcher's attention. Veteran pitchers
never fall for that. But sometimes it works."

Game notes
Lopez's no-decision means he can still become the first
Orioles rookie to start a season 6-0. Only three Baltimore rookies
have opened 5-0 -- Lopez, Rocky Coppinger (1996) and Ben McDonald
(1990). ... Indians RHP Charles Nagy will make his first start
since last Aug. 17 on Saturday in the second game of a day-night
doubleheader against Kansas City. Nagy was Cleveland's steadiest
starter for nearly a decade before hurting his elbow. He's pitched
in long relief this season. ... Indians 2B Ricky Gutierrez has
grounded into an AL-high 10 double plays. ... Segui was back in the
lineup after missing three games with an injured left wrist.