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Lawton, Martinez homer for Cleveland

4/8/2004

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Chad Durbin and the Cleveland Indians weren't
about to let this one slip away.

Matt Lawton and Victor Martinez homered, and Durbin earned his
first win since 2001 as Cleveland avoided a season-opening sweep by
beating the banged-up Minnesota Twins 11-4 on Wednesday night.

Seven players drove in at least one run for Cleveland, and the
Indians held onto a lead that was too big for their exhausted
bullpen to blow.

"We knew coming into the game that there was two, maybe three
of us who could throw," Durbin said.

Durbin (1-1) worked 4 2-3 innings for the win, giving up two
runs and five hits. His last win came Sept. 28, 2001, against the
Chicago White Sox when he was a starter for Kansas City.

Durbin made 29 starts for the Royals in 2001, going 9-16. But
troubles with his right elbow limited him to 17 major league
innings over the last two seasons.

His last win was so long ago, he didn't even remember it.

"I think it was against the Indians?"

Nope. The White Sox.

"It was a while back," he said.

Durbin gave up the game-winning homer to Shannon Stewart on
Monday night, when the Indians blew a 4-0 eighth-inning lead in a
7-4 loss in 11 innings. On Tuesday, they gave up a 6-4 lead in the
ninth and lost 7-6 in 15 innings.

But Cleveland scored three runs in the fourth and added four
more in the sixth, and Minnesota, which scored two runs in the
sixth, wasn't coming back this time.

"We could definitely be 3-0 tonight," Lawton said.

Cleveland had 10 or more hits in each of the three games,
finishing the series with 45 and a .317 average.

"We played three good ballgames," Indians manager Eric Wedge
said. "Obviously, we gave two of them away late. ... In terms of
the way we played these three games, I'm very pleased."

Lawton, who added an RBI double in the ninth, drove in three
runs. Casey Blake and Ronnie Belliard each drove in two.

Indians starter Cliff Lee, who went 3-3 in nine starts late last
season, gave up six hits, four walks and hit one batter while
striking out two. He left after throwing 95 pitches in 4 1-3
innings.

"Fortunately, I only gave up two runs," he said. "Durbin came
and picked me up."

The Indians broke open a 2-1 game with three runs in the fourth.
Lawton and Omar Vizquel each drove in a run against Twins starter
Kyle Lohse (0-1). Cleveland led 5-1 after Lohse walked Blake with
the bases loaded to score Lawton.

The Twins' bullpen worked 16 innings in the previous two games
and needed a long outing from Lohse, who threw 89 pitches and gave
up five earned runs in four innings. Brad Radke threw six innings
Monday, and Johan Santana lasted only four on Tuesday.

"I came out flat," Lohse said. "My fastball didn't really
have any angle on it. ... In the first place, you want to go deep
into a game anyways. But obviously with the 'pen being the way it
was, it wasn't a good feeling throwing that many pitches early."

Minnesota played without two injured starters -- Gold Glove
center fielder Torii Hunter and rookie catcher Joe Mauer -- and lost
catcher Matthew LeCroy after he pulled an oblique muscle on his
second swing of the game. LeCroy started in place of Mauer, who
went on the disabled list Wednesday with a sprained knee.

Now, LeCroy heads to the DL.

"You wonder what that moon's doing to us," manager Ron
Gardenhire said. "We'll just have to work our way through it."

Seth Greisinger, who was called up to replace Mauer and arrived
at the park about an hour before the game, relieved Lohse. But his
debut was rocky.

On Greisinger's first pitch in the fifth, Martinez homered to
left to make it 6-2.

Greisinger was charged with four more runs in the sixth after
walking Vizquel with one out. Vizquel scored on Blake's double.
Travis Hafner knocked in Jody Gerut with a sacrifice fly, Alex
Escobar had an RBI single, and Belliard doubled off Carlos Pulido
to make it 10-2 and send the fans to the exits.

Game notes
The Indians' bullpen was a man short after right-handed
closer David Riske flew home to be with his pregnant wife, who was
expected to give birth on Wednesday. ... Greisinger recovered from
Martinez's homer by striking out the next four batters. ... The
Minnesota women's basketball team, which lost in the Final Four to
eventual national champion Connecticut, threw out the ceremonial
first pitch.