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Riske earns Indians' first save of season

4/18/2004

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Matt Lawton got Cleveland off to a good start and David Riske finally finished off a win.

Lawton hit two homers, scored four runs and drove in four, and
Riske earned the Indians' first save this season in a 9-7 win
Sunday over the Detroit Tigers.

Cleveland's bullpen entered last in the AL with a 6.69 ERA,
three blown saves and 58 hits allowed in 40 1/3 innings.

"Riske was fantastic and 'Law' had a great day," Indians
manager Eric Wedge said. "That's the David Riske we know."

Carlos Guillen homered and had four RBI for Detroit, which lost
center fielder Alex Sanchez to a strained left groin in the seventh
inning.

Sanchez barely made it to second on an RBI double -- hopping the
final 40 feet on his right leg and falling on the base. He was
helped to his feet by trainers, who assisted him to the dugout.

"I can't play tomorrow," Sanchez said. "Hopefully, I won't be
out too many days."

Lawton led off the first with his third homer and hit a
three-run shot in the fourth -- both off right-hander Jeremy
Bonderman (1-1).

It was the sixth multihomer game of Lawton's career and first
since he hit two against Cincinnati last June 28.

Cliff Lee (2-0) allowed three runs and six hits in 5 1-3
innings, striking out six without a walk. Riske, who had blown two
saves and entered with an ERA of 15.75, pitched a perfect ninth.

"I wanted to be out there," Riske said. "When I'm struggling
-- and hopefully I'm done with that word -- I want the ball. I wanted
to get it done."

Lawton was determined, too, especially after the first pitch of
the game backed him off the plate.

He hit Bonderman's second pitch 427 feet and over the wall in
right-center, Lawton stood and admired his work, then flipped the
bat backward -- hitting Ivan Rodriguez.

The Tigers catcher angrily kicked the bat away as Lawton rounded
the bases, then had a couple of words for him as he crossed home
plate.

"The first pitch was up and in and I got a little excited,"
Lawton said. "I wanted to hit the next one out. When I did, I got
more excited and threw the bat. It hit Pudge in the foot and he was
upset about that, but he was cool about it. He said, 'Don't let go
of the bat.' "

The next time up, Lawton was hit in the back by an 81 mph pitch
from Bonderman. Lawton took off for second on a 3-1 pitch and
scored as Omar Vizquel lined it to right-center for a double and a
2-0 lead.

In the sixth, reliever Steve Colyer's first pitch sailed up and
in to Lawton, who eventually walked after having to duck away from
yet another tight one.

"When he hit me with the bat, I got a little bit mad, but I
knew it wasn't on purpose," Rodriguez said. "I told him to throw
it somewhere else.

"But we didn't throw at him. We went inside with a breaking
pitch."

Lawton responded again in the fourth. After Ronnie Belliard got
a broken-bat single and Coco Crisp drew a two-out walk, Lawton hit
a 2-0 pitch to right-center for his fourth homer and a 5-0 lead.

A two-run double by Guillen sparked the Tigers in the sixth.
Guillen then stole third and scored on a bloop single to right by
Rodriguez to make it 5-3.

Ben Broussard opened the bottom half with his first homer. Jody
Gerut later hit a run-scoring single and Travis Hafner an RBI
double for an 8-3 Indians lead.

"If we could have held them at 5-3 we had a chance," Tigers
manager Alan Trammell said. "How often can you keep coming back?"

Guillen, who went 3-for-5, followed Sanchez's RBI double in the
seventh with a two-run homer, and Carlos Pena hit his third homer
in the eighth to make it 8-7.

Bonderman allowed seven runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. He
struck out six and walked three.

Game notes
Vizquel went 1-for-4 and is two hits shy of 2,000 for his
career. ... Lawton needs eight hits for 1,000. ... Crisp went
2-for-3 and scored three runs. ... Pena has hit 11 of his 42 career
homers against Cleveland. ... Bonderman is 0-4 in six career starts
vs. the Indians. ... Lawton homered leading off a game for the
fifth time in his career and scored four runs for the second time.
... Cleveland has 42 hits in three games against Detroit.