<
>

Valentin, Thomas drive in two runs in 10th inning

4/8/2003

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jose Valentin took one look at Bartolo Colon
wearing short sleeves and shook his head. The rest of his body
already was shaking.

"He's nuts," Valentin said. "I was freezing. I put on
everything I could find to stay warm, and believe me, I was not
warm."

Valentin heated up with a tiebreaking RBI single in Chicago's
two-run 10th inning as the White Sox won the Cleveland Indians'
chilly home opener 5-3 Tuesday.

The 10th home opener in Jacobs Field history was rescheduled
from Monday because of rain and cold weather, and Tuesday's
conditions were better suited for a Bears-Browns matchup than
baseball.

Fog shrouded the ballpark and the chill made it feel like it was
22 degrees when Indians starter Ricardo Rodriguez threw out the
first pitch. Only about 10,000 fans braved the frigid elements
until the final out.

"It wasn't Kissimmee, Florida," Indians catcher Josh Bard
said. "But the White Sox had to deal with it, too."

Billy Koch (1-0) pitched two innings as the White Sox won their
fourth straight.

With the scored tied 3-3, Sandy Alomar Jr. singled -- his third
hit _ to open the 10th off Chad Paronto (0-1) and was replaced by
pinch-runner Miguel Olivo.

D'Angelo Jimenez walked on four pitches and Valentin failed to
get down a sacrifice bunt, before hitting his RBI single.

"I got lucky we cashed in," Valentin said. "We can't afford
to make mistakes. If I hit into a double play, not too many people
in this room are going to be happy with me."

Thomas then lifted a fly ball, scoring Jimenez to make it 5-3.

Valentin, maybe hoping to get in from the cold, committed a
silly baserunning blunder that ended the inning. When Magglio
Ordonez popped up for the second out, Valentin continued running
and was tagged out by shortstop Omar Vizquel for a double play.

"I guarantee that won't happen again," Valentin said.

Vizquel went 4-for-5 with two RBI for the Indians.

Colon, once the ace of Cleveland's starting staff, faced the
Indians for the first time since being traded to Montreal last
June. The right-hander allowed two runs and six hits in six
innings.

"It felt kind of strange, but that's how baseball goes," Colon
said. "After two innings, it was like any game."

Vizquel's RBI double gave the Indians a 2-1 lead in the sixth.
After Milton Bradley doubled with one out, Vizquel slapped his hit
inside the third-base bag.

Vizquel rallied the Indians again in the seventh.

Casey Blake opened with a double off the wall and, with two
outs, Vizquel pulled a pitch from Tom Gordon into the corner in
right, tying it 3-3.

Alomar, who played 11 seasons with the Indians from 1990-2000,
tied it 1-1 with an RBI double in the fifth and evened it at 2-2
with an almost identical double in the seventh.

"I have no idea how I hit in this weather," Alomar said. "I
had a pretty good spring and I guess it's carrying over. Whenever
you talk April or the postseason in Cleveland, it's cold. Expect
it."

Jimenez followed with an RBI single, giving the White Sox a 3-2
lead.

Brandon Phillips, the Indians' flashy rookie who came over from
Montreal in the trade for Colon, had been looking forward to facing
the hard-throwing right-hander.

His first encounter came with the bases loaded in the second.
And after battling Colon for nine pitches, Phillips hit a hard
grounder to first but was able to beat the relay throw on a double
play to put the Indians up 1-0.

"It was nice to finally face the dude I got traded for,"
Phillips said. "He does throw as hard as hard as everyone said."

Game notes
Ordonez wore a stocking cap over his White Sox cap in the
field. ... The Indians made several offseason improvements to
10-year-old Jacobs Field, replacing the rubberized warning track
and changing the infield dirt, which is now red. There are also new
railings and protective screens on the top step of the dugouts. ...
Cleveland is 6-4 in home openers at the Jake and 54-49 overall. ...
White Sox 3B coach Bruce Kimm is coaching hurt. He's wearing a
protective boot on his lower left leg after injuring himself during
spring training. ... Koch has a 0.82 ERA and seven saves in his
career at the Jake.

Comments