Final in 10

Series: Game 3 of 3

Detroit won 2-1

Game 1: Tuesday, September 14
Game 2: Wednesday, September 15
Game 3: Thursday, September 16
in 10

Tigers 6

(66-79, 32-41 away)

Indians 4

(71-75, 41-33 home)

    7:05 PM ET, September 16, 2004

    Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio 

    12345678910 R H E
    DET 0200300010 6 - -
    CLE 0002110000 4 - -

    W: J. Walker (3-4)

    L: C. Sabathia (11-10)

    S: E. Yan (4)

    Knotts wins for first time in 13 appearances

    CLEVELAND (AP) -- Slumping in his recliner, C.C. Sabathia had a pained look of disbelief. He struggled for the right words to explain what went wrong.

    None ever came.

    Another bad night and another bad loss had Cleveland's pitcher searching for answers.

    "I don't know what I'm going to do," Sabathia said. "I'm lost right now."

    Sabathia's up-and-down season hit a new low point Thursday night when the left-hander lasted just five innings in a 6-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers.

    Eric Munson and Omar Infante each hit two-run homers off Sabathia (11-10) and Detroit's bullpen stayed busy all night to help the Tigers take their second of three in the series.

    Sabathia, who as recently as Sept. 6 shut out Seattle on five hits, failed in key spots to put away Tigers hitters and paid for it. He allowed five runs and six hits in five innings -- a respectable line but not the one he or the Indians need from him.

    The two-time All-Star said he's fine physically, but for whatever reason, there have been times this season when he can't get a big out.

    "It's all in my head," Sabathia said. "It's all me. I don't have any explanation for it. My stuff has been there all year but for whatever reason I'm not getting it done."

    Sabathia's father, cousin and uncle have each died in the past year. That's a heavy burden for anyone to handle, particularly a 24-year-old. But Sabathia refuses to use it as an excuse.

    "That should make this easy," he said. "This is what I get paid to do. This is my job, not to go out and give up five runs in five innings to the Tigers. No disrespect, but come on. I'm better than that. I just don't seem to have it in me."

    For Sabathia, the only consolation is that the Indians are playing out the season and not fighting to extend it into October.

    "I keep thinking, 'What if we were in a race right now, and you got a guy supposed to be your ace pitching like this?' If this team is going to get better, I'm going to have to pitch a lot better than that," he said.

    Tigers starter Gary Knotts, who hasn't won in 13 appearances -- five starts -- since July 9, was leading 5-3 and was one out from being the pitcher of record when Detroit manager Alan Trammell pulled him in the fifth for Steve Colyer.

    Trammell wasn't done making moves, either. He used four more relievers after Colyer, including Jamie Walker (3-4), who pitched two innings, and Esteban Yan, who worked the ninth for his fourth save.

    "It wasn't easy that's for sure," Trammell said. "It was a bullpen night that's how we looked at it. We made some moves that worked. Sometimes they haven't worked, but tonight they did."

    Yan took over the closer's role when Ugueth Urbina left the Tigers following his mother's kidnapping in Venezuela on Sept. 1. The right-hander has two saves in three tries since replacing Urbina.

    Munson homered in the second and Infante connected in Detroit's three-run fifth.

    Nook Logan's RBI triple in the ninth gave the Tigers a big insurance run and a 6-4 lead.

    Travis Hafner homered for the Indians, who have lost 20 of 28.

    After pulling Knotts, Trammell matched up with Indians hitters and manager Eric Wedge as if it was the postseason. He used Roberto Novoa and Walker to get through the sixth, when the Indians closed to 5-4 on Coco Crisp's run-scoring single.

    Cleveland put the tying run on third an inning later -- Matt Lawton led off with a sinking liner that right fielder Craig Monroe let get past him for a two-base error.

    Walker, though, got two groundouts and a strikeout to preserve Detroit's lead. The left-hander didn't even realize he had gotten the win.

    "I thought Colyer got it," he said. "That's good. I'll take all I can get."

    Al Levine retired the only batter he faced in the eighth before Yan, who blew a save Wednesday night, retired the side in order for one of the rare times this season after blowing eight saves.

    Game notes

    Wedge used five relievers after Sabathia was lifted. ... Tigers C Ivan Rodriguez got a night off. ... Play was stopped in the fourth when Novoa threw a wild pitch over the bullpen wall and into right field. ... Detroit C Brandon Inge extended his hitting streak to 12 games, matching a career high. ... Despite the loss, Sabathia is still 8-3 in 14 career starts against the Tigers.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press