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Archive for Wednesday, April 10, 2002

After skipping start due to alleged run-in with spouse, pitcher throws six shutout innings

April 10, 2002

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— Back on the mound and surrounded by his teammates, Chuck Finley felt right at home.

Finley, who had to skip his first start last week after a domestic dispute with his wife, pitched six shutout innings Tuesday night as the Cleveland Indians won their sixth straight game, 5-4 over the Minnesota Twins.

An emotional week couldn't have ended better for Finley, who said he was touched by the support he got from Cleveland fans and teammates the past few days.

"I went out there and let it all go," Finley said. "I enjoy being with my teammates. I had people come up to me and say, 'Tough week, buddy.' We have a lot of great guys on this team."

Milton Bradley hit a two-run homer, Ricky Gutierrez had two RBIs and Matt Lawton hit a solo shot off Joe Mays (0-2) as the Indians, who were expected to struggle during a transition season, improved to 7-1 in front of the smallest crowd ever at Jacobs Field.

Finley missed his start on April 3 in Anaheim after his wife, actress Tawny Kitaen, was arrested for allegedly assaulting him while the couple was driving home. Kitaen, who has two children with Finley, was charged with spousal abuse and battery.

Indians manager Charlie Manuel had been more concerned about how Finley would pitch following a 10-day layoff than the 39-year-old's emotional state.

But once Finley started throwing, Manuel relaxed.

"He handles things good," Manuel said. "He keeps his composure. He pitched a Finley game. We needed him out there."

Finley didn't have much trouble with the Twins, allowing four hits. He struck out seven and walked four  two in the third when he loaded the bases. But the left-hander struck out Matt LeCroy on three pitches for the final out.

"Three splitters," said Finley, who was surprised how smooth his mechanics were considering he hadn't pitched in a game since March 29. "I'm stubborn enough to throw six in a row."

Finley also got some help from Cleveland catcher Einar Diaz, who threw out two runners trying to steal.

Finley said just getting back on the field helped clear his mind of the past week's events.

"It felt real good," he said. "I didn't know how sharp I would be. I just went out there and went as hard as I could. I wasn't trying to put zeros up on the board."

White Sox 8, Tigers 2

Detroit  Frank Thomas hit his 350th career homer to spoil Luis Pujols' debut as Detroit manager, and Chicago beat the winless Tigers. Detroit (0-7), baseball's lone winless team, fired manager Phil Garner and general manager Randy Smith on Monday and named Pujols the manager for the rest of the season before Tuesday's game. The Tigers are off to their worst start since losing the first eight games in 1952.

Yankees 5, Blue Jays 2

Toronto  Mike Mussina allowed two hits in eight innings, and Rondell White hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth as New York won its seventh straight. Raul Mondesi and Felipe Lopez hit solo homers off Mussina (2-0) for Toronto's only hits. Mussina, who pitched seven scoreless innings against Baltimore last week, struck out 10 and walked one. Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his fourth save.

Athletics 5, Rangers 4 (11)

Arlington, Texas  John Rocker blew his first save chance for Texas, and Oakland beat the Rangers on Greg Myers' RBI single in the 11th inning. Eric Chavez homered twice for Oakland, including a solo shot in the 10th off Rudy Seanez (0-1). Texas rallied for one run off Billy Koch (2-0) in the bottom half, but the Rangers couldn't score the winning run despite having the bases loaded and nobody out.

Mariners 5, Angels 1

Anaheim, Calif. Â Mark McLemore hit a two-run homer and John Halama pitched six strong innings as Seattle won its 10th straight game in Anaheim. Halama (1-0) allowed one run and four hits, struck out four and walked one. Kevin Appier (0-1) gave up two runs and five hits in seven innings.

Orioles-Devil Rays ppd.

Baltimore  The Orioles and Devil Rays will keep their losing streaks intact for at least another 24 hours. A steady rain forced the postponement of Tuesday night's game. It will be made up on Aug. 22.

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