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Gerut gets 3 doubles, single and homer

4/16/2004

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Five hits weren't enough to satisfy Jody Gerut.
He wanted more, and against the Tigers, Cleveland's outfielder
usually gets it.

Gerut went 5-for-5 with three RBI to help C.C. Sabathia get his
first win in three starts this season, and the Indians beat Detroit
10-3 on Friday night.

Gerut homered, doubled three times and singled as the Indians
battered Nate Cornejo (1-1) while winning the first of seven games
in 10 days between the teams.

Needing a triple in one of his final two at-bats to hit for the
cycle, Gerut hit two doubles, the second on a ball that rattled
around in the right-field corner and for a moment seemed to have
potential to wind up as a triple.

But third-base coach Joel Skinner held up Omar Vizquel rounding
for home, preventing Gerut from trying for three.

"I wanted it bad," Gerut said of the cycle. "I saw Skins was
holding him (Omar) up, but I was itching to get it."

Skinner didn't realize Gerut only needed a triple to complete a
hitter's rarity. Vizquel couldn't have scored on Gerut's ball
anyway, he said.

Gerut will have to wait for another chance, and the way he has
hit the Tigers in his first two full major league seasons, he might
get one real soon.

Gerut is batting .338 against Detroit with eight of his 24
career home runs and 30 of his 81 career RBI coming against
Detroit.

"I would have to classify him early in his career as a Tiger
killer," said Detroit manager Alan Trammell, who added that Tigers
pitchers had discussed stopping Gerut before the game.

"We certainly have to revisit how we get him out," Trammell
said.

Gerut swears that seeing the Tigers has no affect on his game.

"It's not like I'm licking my chops when they come over here or
we go over there," he said.

The Indians got a season-high 19 hits and even got some good
swings on Ugueth Urbina, whom they decided not to sign as a free
agent during spring training.

Urbina gave up one run and two hits in his first appearance
since Game 6 of the World Series for Florida. Detroit signed Urbina
to a one-year deal after the Indians passed on the right-hander.

"Overall, I thought it was a good outing for him," Trammell
said. "I'm just glad I could put him out there."

Victor Martinez homered and drove in three runs, and Ronnie
Belliard had two RBI for Cleveland.

Sabathia (1-0) had pitched well enough to win each of his two
previous starts, but his bullpen blew saves both times as the
Indians lost extra-inning games in Minnesota and Kansas City.

This time, the Indians made sure they gave Sabathia more than
enough runs, scoring five times in the sixth inning to open a 9-1
lead.

"I'm really happy for C.C.," Gerut said. "I think we still
owe him a win or two."

Gerut and Martinez drove in two runs apiece as Cleveland batted
around for the first time all season in the inning.

The Indians' big lead prevented Gerut from batting in the ninth
and having a chance to be the first Cleveland player since Jorge
Orta in 1980 to get six hits in a nine-inning game.

"I haven't had too many nights like this, though," Gerut said.

Sabathia allowed four hits in six innings to improve to 7-2 in
12 career starts against Detroit. He also lowered his ERA this
season to 1.70.

Gerut homered leading off the fifth against Cornejo, who after
winning the Tigers' home opener on April 8 had to serve a five-game
suspension for throwing at Philadelphia's Ricky Ledee during a
spring training game.

The right-hander was tagged for career highs in runs (eight) and
hits (14) in five-plus innings.

The Indians scored twice in the first off Cornejo, who balked in
the second run.

Game notes
Cleveland's starters entered the weekend with an AL-best
2.74 ERA. Oakland was next in the league at 3.63. Only Florida's
1.30 ERA was better. ... In a way, former Tigers RHP Dan Petry is
still relieving. Petry made his TV broadcast debut as a color
analyst Friday night, replacing Jack Morris, who left to join
Minnesota's radio team. Petry pitched for Detroit from 1979-87 and
1990-91. Morris was with Detroit from 1977-90. ... Cleveland SS
Vizquel is three hits shy of 2,000.