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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.