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Indians' Westbrook perfect for seven innings

4/20/2004

CLEVELAND (AP) -- With Indians reliever Jake Westbrook out of the
game after pitching seven perfect innings, Rondell White finally
got a pitch he could hit.

White had a three-run homer off Rafael Betancourt in a six-run
eighth, and the Detroit Tigers beat Cleveland 10-4 Monday night.

"Westbrook was unbelievable, but then we got a couple of hits
and I just wanted to keep it rolling," White said. "I got a
curveball and wanted to take it up the middle, but put a good swing
on it."

Westbrook, who struck out seven in seven innings, came on to
pitch with the Indians trailing 4-0 in the first inning following a
65-minute rain delay. Before the rain shower and hailstorm, Indians
starter Jeff D'Amico gave up four runs. In 12 minutes, D'Amico
faced six batters, and did not get an out.

Betancourt (0-2) came on to start the eighth and gave up one-out
singles to Carlos Guillen and Ivan Rodriguez before White lined his
third homer into the left-field bleachers for a 7-4 lead.

Detroit then loaded the bases on a walk, error and infield
single against Scott Stewart, who then gave up a three-run double
to Brandon Inge.

Al Levine (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 hitless innings as Detroit
improved to 8-5. The Tigers didn't get their eighth win in 2003
until May 11, when they were 8-25.

"It doesn't come easy for the Tigers," manager Alan Trammell
said. "Strange things happen sometimes in baseball. I can't
explain it, but it was great to come right back after they tied it.
We got some big hits and Rondell's was the biggest."

For the second game in a row, a Tigers outfielder was hurt.
Bobby Higginson hobbled off in the seventh after he injured his
right leg fielding a single to right by Omar Vizquel.

On Sunday, centerfielder Alex Sanchez pulled up lame with a
strained left groin while trying to run out a double.

"I'd say it's a small chance he'll play Tuesday," Trammell
said. "Like Alex, he's day to day."

Indians manager Eric Wedge said he didn't want Westbrook to get
hurt, so he lifted him after the right-hander threw 83 pitches.

"He did more than his job tonight and I thought I left him in a
little longer than I should have," Wedge said. "I can't keep him
out there and put him in harm's way.

"We tied the score and put our setup guy in, but it just didn't
work out."

Westbrook was disappointed, but said he understood the decision.

"I felt like I could go another inning, but he was just looking
out for me," he said. "It's probably the best stuff I've had in a
big league game. I had a good sinker and changeup."

The brief shower and hailstorm turned into a long delay when the
grounds crew took nearly 10 minutes to cover the field. By then the
rain had essentially stopped, but the infield needed 45 minutes to
repair.

D'Amico didn't come back, having made only 22 pitches in the
shortest of his 127 career starts.

Leadoff batter Fernando Vina reached on an error by shortstop
Vizquel. Guillen walked and Rodriguez singled home Vina. After a
single by White loaded the bases, D'Amico walked Carlos Pena to
force in a run and Higginson hit a two-run single for a 4-0 lead.

Westbrook got Craig Monroe to make the first out of the game --
79 minutes after the first pitch -- on a fly ball to right.

Ronnie Belliard doubled to open the bottom of the first, moved
up on a bunt by Vizquel and scored on a groundout by Matt Lawton to
make it 4-1.

Casey Blake hit his second homer in the fourth to pull to 4-2.

Tigers starter Nate Robertson allowed four runs and five hits
over 6 2-3 innings. The left-hander struck out eight, walked four
and left after yielding a two-out double to Belliard.

Reliever Jamie Walker gave up RBI singles to Vizquel and Lawton
on the only two pitches he threw as Cleveland tied it 4-4 in the
seventh.

Game notes
The crowd of 13,650 was the smallest in Jacobs Field
history. ... Belliard went 3-for-4 and tied a career high with
three doubles. His 25 hits leads the AL. ... D'Amico became the
first Indians starting pitcher to not record an out since Tommy
Kramer on Aug. 17, 1993, against Toronto. ... Vizquel's hit left
him one away from 2,000 for his career. ... Rodriguez went 2-for-4
and is batting .458 (11-for-24) during a six-game hitting streak.