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Conine wins battle with Sadler, O's top Indians in 12

4/17/2003

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jeff Conine has probably had better at-bats. He
has undoubtedly had longer ones. He just can't remember any of
them.
Conine hit a two-strike, two-out, two-run single in the 12th
inning Thursday night to give the Baltimore Orioles a 6-4 win over
the Cleveland Indians.
Conine, who homered in the second inning, fouled off four
pitches with two strikes before completing a 10-pitch at-bat by
lining a single off Carl Sadler to score pinch-runner Jose Morban
and Melvin Mora.
"Best one in memory,'' Conine said when asked about his battle
with Sadler. "He has great stuff, and he was throwing everything
he had at me. I just got lucky and hit it.''
Willis Roberts (1-1) pitched one inning for the win, and Jorge
Julio got three outs for his third save.
The Orioles won twice in the three-game set and evened the
season series at 3-3. The teams won't see each other again until
2004.
"It's good to come in here and take two out of three,'' said
Orioles manager Mike Hargrove, whose team went 4-4 on a road trip
to Tampa Bay, Boston and Cleveland. "It sure beats the
alternative. We'll be better than people think.''
Travis Hafner hit a three-run homer and Karim Garcia added a
solo shot for the Indians, who got just three hits after the
seventh and have been outscored 27-10 after the sixth inning this
season.
"We have to do a better job of finishing things off and finding
ways to win,'' manager Eric Wedge said.
Geronimo Gil walked to open the 12th off Chad Paronto (0-2) and
was replaced by Morban, who moved up on Jerry Hairston's sacrifice.
Mora walked and Paronto was lifted for Sadler, who struck out
B.J. Surhoff before his wild pitch advanced the runners.
Conine fell behind 0-2 in the count before battling back _
barely fouling off two balls _ and delivering his base hit.
"If I could pick somebody in our lineup to be up there in that
spot, Jeff's the guy,'' Hargrove said.
Conine said he was completely fooled by two of Sadler's pitches,
and only stayed alive because one of his foul tips popped out of
catcher Tim Laker's mitt.
"I don't know how he didn't catch it,'' Conine said. "I didn't
get much of it.''
Cleveland's Milton Bradley went 0-for-5 with a walk and had his
season-opening hitting streak stopped at 14 games. Bradley's streak
was the longest to open a season for the Indians since Toby Harrah
hit in 14 in a row in 1982.
The Indians loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth but
failed to score. They got the potential winning run to second with
two outs in the 10th but couldn't push it across.
Hairston's two-run single tied it 4-4 for Baltimore in the
seventh off Indians starter C.C. Sabathia, who threw just 69
pitches in the first six innings but needed 29 to get through the
seventh.
After Sabathia struck out Mora to end the inning, he walked
disgustedly to the dugout after letting his first win of the season
slip away.
"I was cruising,'' Sabathia said. "I left one pitch out over
the plate and I paid for it.''
Hafner's second career homer -- and first since coming to
Cleveland in a December trade with Texas -- gave the Indians a 3-1
lead in the second inning off Sidney Ponson.
Ponson and Sabathia had virtually identical pitching lines as
each gave up four runs and seven hits in seven innings.
Conine, the Orioles' cleanup hitter who came in with just two
RBIs in 45 at-bats, drove a pitch from Sabathia onto the home run
porch in left to make it 1-0.

Game notes
Orioles DH David Segui strained his right hamstring running
to first and will probably miss a game, Hargrove said. ... Hafner
is 8-for-24 against the Orioles and 1-for-23 vs. the rest of the AL
this season. ... Indians DH Ellis Burks missed his second straight
game with the flu. ... Mike Garland, introduced as Cleveland
State's new men's basketball coach earlier in the day, threw out
the ceremonial first pitch. ... Hafner is one of just 14 players in
major league history born in North Dakota. ... Hairston was just
2-for-16 before his two-run single.

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