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Finley ties Indians record with six straight K's in win

5/28/2002

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Chuck Finley has been around long enough to
know his trade value just skyrocketed.

''They might get a Triple-A guy for me now,'' Finley said
laughing. ''Or maybe a player and a pitching machine.''

Finley struck out 11, including a club record-tying six
straight, and Travis Fryman drove in three runs Tuesday night to
lead the Cleveland Indians to a 4-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Finley (3-6) gave up two runs and two hits in the first inning
but then dominated. He retired 20 of 21 before Brandon Inge opened
the eighth with an infield single to end Finley's night.

Finley struck out the side in the sixth and seventh, tying Bob
Feller (1938) and Bartolo Colon (2000) for the team record for most
consecutive strikeouts.

''I don't remember the getting six guys out in a row,'' Finley
joked.

The 39-year-old left-hander won for the first time since April
26 -- a span of six starts -- and also moved into a tie with Hall of
Famer Don Drysdale for 24th place on the career strikeout list with
2,486.

If the Indians fall any further back in the AL Central, Finley
knows there might be some teams interested in him and Cleveland
could trade him for some prospects.

''I know there's going to be a point in the season when some
evaluations have to be made,'' said Finley, in his final year
contract year with Cleveland. ''I'm in a different situation. I
don't go out there thinking about it, but I know how this business
works.

''It's almost a no-brainer. I'm not implying I want it to
happen. I like the guys on this team. I believe in them. I just
know how it all plays out.''

Paul Shuey finished the eighth, and Bob Wickman worked the ninth
for his 12th save as the Indians won for the fourth time in five
games. The Tigers loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth
before Wickman got Inge on a groundout to end it.

Ellis Burks homered in the eighth as Cleveland ended a four-game
losing streak against Detroit and won for just the third time in
their last 17 games against AL Central teams.

''We did some things right,'' Indians manager Charlie Manuel
said. ''We just played good.''

Fryman singled home Cleveland's first run in the fifth off Jeff
Weaver (4-6), and then gave the Indians a 3-2 lead with a two-run
single with two outs in the sixth.

Matt Lawton singled leading off, and one out later, moved up on
Burks' infield single. Both runners advanced on a groundout and
Fryman, who was just 2-for-16 against Weaver, followed with his
single.

Burks led off the eighth with his seventh homer, a shot to left
off Julio Santana.

Weaver, who lost a no-hit bid with two outs in the eighth last
week in beating Finley 2-0, flirted with another before Jim Thome
doubled to open the fifth.

''I actually thought I had better stuff than last week,'' Weaver
said. ''I was making pitches exactly where I wanted all night.
Fryman just got the best of me. He knows how to hit and he didn't
try to do too much with what I gave him.''

Fryman followed with an RBI single, cutting Detroit's lead to
2-1 and snapping the Indians' 13-inning scoreless streak against
the right-hander.

Weaver allowed three runs and six hits in seven innings, and
extended his streak of not giving up a home run to 78 innings.

Just like his last start against the Tigers, Finley struggled
early. He gave up a leadoff single to Damian Jackson and walked
Robert Fick in the first before Bobby Higginson's RBI single made
it 1-0.

Dmitri Young, who sat out Monday's game after aggravating a
hernia injury, then brought in Detroit's second run with a
fielder's choice.

Finley escaped more damage by getting Wendell Magee to hit into
an inning-ending double play.

Finley has given up 10 first-inning runs in 10 starts for a 9.00
ERA. But in the other eight innings, his ERA is 3.54.

''If I could get through those first innings out of the way, I
would have a pretty good career,'' Finley said.

Game notes
Finley also moved past Jack Morris (2,478) on the strikeout
list, and needs 16 to tie Christy Mathewson (2,502) for 23rd place.
... It was the 32nd time Finley has struck out 10 or more in a
game. ... Feller struck out six Tigers in a row on Oct. 2, 1938.
... Indians OF Milton Bradley began a 20-day rehab assignment with
Triple-A Buffalo and went 0-for-3 with two walks at Rochester. ...
Bradley broke an orbital bone near his left eye when he was hit by
a ball while trying to make a catch on May 1. ... Weaver threw 124
pitches, and leads the AL in pitches per start with 113.5. ...
Since opening the season 0-11, the Tigers are 19-19.