Archive for Sunday, May 19, 2002

Royals, Indians split pair

KC wins opener, 4-2, drops nightcap, 4-1

May 19, 2002


— Omar Vizquel has suddenly found a home-run swing as golden as his glove.

"He's going to catch (Barry) Bonds if he keeps this going," joked Indians manager Charlie Manuel.

When: 12:05 p.m. today.Where: Jacobs Field.Television: None.Pitchers: Jeff Suppan (4-4) vs. Danys Baez (4-3).KC record: 15-26

Vizquel hit a three-run homer and Ryan Drese struck out 10 in eight dominant innings Saturday night, giving the Cleveland Indians a 4-1 win over the Kansas City Royals in the second game of a day-night doubleheader.

In the first game, Mark Quinn hit an RBI double in Kansas City's two-run ninth inning off Bob Wickman as the Royals won 4-2.

Vizquel homered in the fifth inning off Darrell May (0-1) and got his fourth RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the sixth.

After hitting just two homers in 611 at-bats last season, Vizquel connected for his sixth homer of 2002 in the fifth. It's only May, and the nine-time Gold Glove winning shortstop is just three homers shy of matching his career high set in 1996.

"It's fun for me," said Vizquel, batting .400 (28-for-70) in his last 20 games. "I'm not only hitting the ball well, but I'm hitting the long ball. I don't remember anytime in my career having six homers right now."

Drese (4-3), whose last scheduled start was rained out, hadn't pitched in 12 days. But the right-hander showed no rust and used a nasty split-finger fastball and slider to keep the Royals off-balance and flailing at the chilly air.

The rookie right-hander allowed four hits as Cleveland snapped a five-game losing streak against Kansas City.

"It was one of those days when I really didn't know what was going to happen," Drese said. "But I finished a lot of hitters off. I don't think I'm going to strike out 10 every night, though."

The 26-year-old Drese helped salvage the split with his best outing, setting a career high for innings pitched and walking just one. His 10 strikeouts were the most by an Indians pitcher this season.

"I'm sure this is the highlight of his major league career by far," said Kansas City first baseman Mike Sweeney, who went 0-for-3 and struck out once against Drese.

Wickman worked the ninth for his ninth save.

Bruce Aven singled and Einar Diaz sacrificed before Jolbert Cabrera walked. Vizquel followed by hitting a 2-1 pitch from May onto the home run porch in left, putting Cleveland ahead 3-1.

The switch-hitting Vizquel, who bulked up this winter, is batting .378 (17-for-45) against left-handers this year after hitting a combined .223 against them the past two seasons.

Vizquel has been the only consistent hitter on the Indians, who have struggled to score all season.

"He didn't just give us a lift," Manuel said. "He was our offense."

The Indians added a run in the sixth but again failed to tack on when Ricky Gutierrez grounded out with the bases loaded. Cleveland is hitting just .139 (5-for-36) with the bases full.

Drese struck out five of his first 10 batters and took a no-hitter into the fourth before Luis Alicea tripled to the gap in right-center and scored on Carlos Beltran's grounder.

May made his first start since April 13. He was activated from the disabled list before the game. The left-hander was making just his second major league start since 1997 after pitching in Japan for four years.

Cleveland starter C.C. Sabathia got a no-decision in the first game, but felt victorious.

Sabathia was robbed of cash and jewelry at gunpoint just a day earlier at a downtown hotel.

"It felt good to get back out there," the 21-year-old lefty said. "When I'm out on the field, I'm just trying to have fun. I tried to block everything out."

Nothing could have prepared Sabathia for what happened Friday morning when he and a cousin were accosted by two armed men following a party.

Sabathia was not injured, but was badly shaken by the encounter he called a "life-altering situation." He had a necklace, earrings and wallet taken.

"You definitely step back and take a look at yourself," Sabathia said. "It definitely won't happen to me again."

Sabathia allowed two runs and three hits in six innings, leaving with the score tied 2-2.

Quinn's double scored pinch-runner Donnie Sadler and A.J. Hinch had an RBI groundout in the ninth off Wickman (0-1), who hadn't lost since Sept. 28, 2000.

Reliever Dan Reichert (2-4) pitched three hitless innings for the win. Roberto Hernandez worked the ninth for his fourth save.

Notes: Drese's 10 strikeouts were the most by an Indians rookie right-hander since Albie Lopez fanned 11 in 1994. ... Fans braved football-type weather as the temperatures dipped into the upper 30s. ... According to police estimates, Sabathia lost $44,000 worth of jewelry and cash in the robbery. ... Beltran had stolen 27 straight bases before being thrown out by Eddie Perez trying to swipe second in the fourth. Beltran hadn't been thrown out since Aug. 11 last season. ... Kansas City started two left-handers in a doubleheader for the first time since July 26, 1993, when Chris Haney and Dennis Rasmussen faced Texas.

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