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Sabathia had no-no through 7; Tigers still winless

4/8/2002

DETROIT (AP) -- For C.C. Sabathia, having no-hit stuff for seven
innings is nothing new. It was trying for an eighth inning that
proved to be the challenge.

Sabathia, who pitched 11 seven-inning no-hitters in high school,
had his no-hit bid stopped by Randall Simon's single leading off
the eighth inning, and the Cleveland Indians went on to beat the
winless Detroit Tigers 5-1 Sunday.

"I threw him a slider and he got it," Sabathia said. "I'd
been throwing him sliders all game, and I should have figured out
that he would make the adjustment."

Sabathia got 11 outs on flyballs and popups, which he credited
to Comerica Park and the 42-degree weather. Center fielder Milton
Bradley had nine putouts.

"It's a big ballpark on a cold day," he said. "No one wants
to hit one on the fists or off the end of the bat on a day like
this, so I was throwing them inside and off the plate. I don't
think my stuff was any better than usual, but I got a lot of
flyballs to center field."

Sabathia woke up Sunday feeling miserable, but it didn't show
from his performance.

"I had a really sore throat and I just didn't feel good," he
said. "I wasn't looking forward to going out in 40-degree weather
again."

After Simon lined a clean single to center on the first pitch of
the eighth, Jose Macias hit into a double play. Wendell Magee
reached on an infield single and Andres Torres had an RBI triple
for his first major league hit.

"C.C. was sailing along until Simon got that hit, and then I
thought he lost a little bit of concentration," Indians manager
Charlie Manuel said. "But he pitched a fine, fine game. I'll have
to get him sick every day."

Paul Shuey and Bob Wickman finished the four-hitter, completing
Cleveland's first sweep at Detroit since 1996. Wickman entered with
the bases loaded and got his third save when Simon grounded into a
game-ending double play.

"We made that a little more exciting than we needed," Manuel
said. "Paul walked a couple guys, and I told him afterwards to
just challenge guys with a big lead. If they hit it out, who
cares?"

Sabathia (1-0), who struck out two and walked two, was trying to
be the first Cleveland pitcher to throw a no-hitter since Len
Barker's perfect game against Toronto on May 15, 1981. Detroit
hasn't been no-hit since Randy Johnson did it in Seattle in 1990,
and the last one at Detroit was by Nolan Ryan in 1973.

At 0-6, the Tigers are off to their worst start since 1992. The
team record for losses at the start of a season is 13, set in 1920.

"We are in a situation where nothing is going right for us, and
everything is magnified because it is the start of the season,"
Dmitri Young said. "But give Sabathia credit -- he pitched a
masterpiece."

Sabathia retired the first 10 batters before Shane Halter's
fourth-inning walk. He also walked Young in the seventh.

"He's throwing 94 miles an hour and he's throwing a curveball
for strikes," Halter said. "That's tough. And it's not like this
is his first time through the league -- he knows what he's doing and
he knows how to pitch."

Jeff Weaver (0-2) allowed three runs, eight hits and four walks
in 7 2-3 innings.

"It has been like this every game, so it isn't just myself,"
he said. "But it is tough -- no one wants to start 0-6. I'm just
glad we have a lot of games left."

The Indians stranded runners at third in each of the first three
innings before breaking through in the fourth on John McDonald's
single, Matt Lawton's RBI triple into the gap in right-center and
Omar Vizquel's sacrifice fly.

Milton Bradley tripled with two outs in the Cleveland eighth,
chasing Weaver, and Einar Diaz homered off Jose Paniagua. Jim Thome
added an RBI triple in the ninth.

Game notes
Torres, recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Sunday, made his
major league debut. Playing center field, he misplayed the first
ball hit to him into a double. ... Weaver retired the first two
batters of the game on two pitches, then needed 22 more to get out
of the inning. He walked the bases loaded before getting Russell
Branyan to pop out on a 2-0 pitch. ... Sabathia's first major
league victory came at Comerica Park last April 13.