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Tigers triumph with eight runs in seventh

5/30/2002

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Lightning flashed overhead, thunder rumbled
Jacobs Field and heavy rains soaked the ballpark.

Moments earlier, the Detroit Tigers did much more damage.

Damian Jackson's three-run double highlighted Detroit's eight-run seventh inning just before thunderstorms arrived Wednesday night, powering the Tigers to a 9-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

Trailing 5-1, the Tigers got seven hits -- a homer, three doubles and three singles -- two walks and a sacrifice fly off reliever David Riske (0-2) and two other pitchers in the seventh.

``I had a feeling we were going to score three or four runs,'' Tigers manager Luis Pujols said. ``It was just one of those things.''

Jacob Cruz homered and Robert Fick doubled twice in Detroit's
biggest inning this season, shortly before severe weather rocked
the Jake and caused a 1-hour, 41-minute rain delay in the bottom of the eighth.

``I knew (the storm) was coming,'' Pujols said. ``That's why
when we went back out there in the bottom of the seventh I told
(Jose) Paniagua to throw strikes.''

Knuckleballer Steve Sparks (3-5) was on his way to losing for the fourth time in five starts before the Tigers rallied, and improved to 20-19 since losing their first 11 games.

The Indians threatened in the eighth following the delay, loading the bases with one out against Jeff Farnsworth. But Juan Acevedo came on and got two popups before working the ninth for his seventh save.

Travis Fryman drove in two runs, and Ricky Gutierrez had three
hits for Cleveland.

After starting the season 9-0 against the AL Central, the
Indians dropped to 3-20 in their division since April 16.

Sparks allowed five runs and nine hits in six shaky innings but
improved to 4-0 the past two seasons against the Indians, who
missed some chances to knock him out early.

``I thought our approach on Sparks was pretty good, but we didn't get the big hit,'' Indians manager Charlie Manuel said.

Cruz opened the seventh with a homer off Cleveland rookie starter Ryan Drese, who breezed through six innings and then fell apart.

Fick then doubled, and Dmitri Young singled before Randall Simon's RBI single brought the Tigers within 5-3.

Drese was replaced by Riske, who got one out but walked two
straight to force in a run and was pulled by Manuel before he could
cause any more damage.

Ramon Santiago singled off Ricardo Rincon to score the Tigers'
fourth run of the inning, tying it 5-5. Jackson then pulled his
double down the left-field line, clearing the bases to make it 8-5.

The hit was especially sweet for Jackson, who played in
Cleveland in 1996-97.

``I still have some friends over there, but they're still the enemy,'' Jackson said, ``and I'm going to try and go out there and kick their tail.''

Cruz then got his second RBI of the inning when he hit a fly
ball to deep center that Jolbert Cabrera caught before slipping and
falling on the warning track, and Jackson tagged and scored from second.

Drese was in line to get his fourth straight win, but got a
no-decision. He allowed five runs and seven hits in six-plus
innings.

Sparks' knuckleball gave the Indians fits last season as he went 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA and pitched a shutout against them.

But his ball wasn't dipping or doing much of anything when the
Indians scored three runs in the first off on RBI singles by Ellis
Burks, Jim Thome and Fryman.

The Indians missed a chance to blow it open, though, when Fryman got caught in a rundown trying to stretch his hit, and Sparks got Russell Branyan and Ricky Gutierrez on grounders.

Cleveland went ahead 5-1 in the fifth on RBI singles by Fryman
and Branyan.

Game notes
The eight-run inning was the Tigers' biggest since Aug. 8
last season when they scored 13 in the ninth inning against Texas.
... Young extended his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest by a
Detroit player this season. Since coming off the 15-day disabled
list on May 14, he's batting .375 (18-for-48). ... Indians starters
have gone at least 5 2-3 innings in 22 of their last 23 starts. ...
Indians OF Milton Bradley went 2-for-4 with an RBI for Triple-A
Buffalo. Bradley, who broke a bone near his left eye while
attempting to make a catch on May 1, could be back this weekend.