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Kansas City 5, Cleveland 4
Posted: Sunday May 14, 2000 05:56 PM
Kansas City Royals
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Cleveland Indians
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CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- Mac Suzuki gave the Kansas City Royals an unexpected lift. Mike Sweeney just did what he always does.

Making his first start in almost a month, Suzuki matched a career high with eight strikeouts over 8 1/3 innings and Sweeney went 4-for-5 with two run-scoring doubles as the Royals posted a 5-4 triumph over the Cleveland Indians.

Suzuki (1-0), who had pitched in relief in his last three outings, allowed four runs and seven hits in his longest outing of his career before tiring in the ninth. The Japanese pitcher posted his first win since October 1.

"It doesn't matter to me if they use me in the bullpen or as a starter," Suzuki said. "I do my best."

After breezing through the first eight innings, Suzuki gave up a single to Jim Thome and David Justice followed by hitting his eighth homer of the season to cut Kansas City's lead to one.

"I was not really tired. I tried not to go too hard in the ninth inning," Suzuki said. "I tried to keep the ball down to Justice, but he hit a high split-finger fastball. I tried to keep the ball down, get ahead in the count and throw strikes, so that I can use my best pitch, the splitter."

Former Indian Jerry Spradlin relieved Suzuki and struck out Travis Fryman and Richie Sexson to collect his fifth career save and first since May 25, 1998 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Sweeney, who drove in two runs on Saturday, recorded the fourth four-hit game of his career and first since July 19. He went 7-for-14 with four RBI in the series and has hits in 10 of his last 11 games. Sweeney is batting .522 (12-of-23) in the first six games of Kansas City's 12-game road trip.

"I was trying to throw anything that I had," Finley said.

"Sweeney was killing me out there. Wherever I threw the ball, he was putting wood on it. He gave me fits all day."

Joe Randa homered and Carlos Febles scored three runs for the second straight game as the Royals salvaged the final game of a four-game series and avoided their first four-game sweep in Cleveland since 1960. Kansas City improved to 8-2 in one-run games this season.

"We feel like we won the World Series, just winning one of the four games," Kansas City manager Tony Muser said. "Suzuki picked us up today. We've had trouble in our rotation with Jose Rosado down and somebody had to step up."

Chuck Finley (3-3) allowed three runs, six hits and five walks with six strikeouts over seven innings and suffered his third straight loss.

Einar Diaz also homered for Cleveland, which lost for only the third time in nine games.

The Royals scored single runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to take a 4-1 lead. An RBI groundout by rookie Mark Quinn gave Kansas City a 2-1 lead and Sweeney delivered his second RBI double of the game one inning later. Randa greeted reliever Scott Kamieniecki in the eighth with his sixth homer of the season.

"Chuck Finley is one of the best left-handed pitchers in the league and we were fortunate to get a couple of runs," Sweeney said. "If he is on his game and he was today, we knew that we weren't going to score seven or eight runs."

Diaz led off the bottom of the eighth with his first homer of the season and first since August 22.

Kansas City came back in the top of the ninth with what turned out to be the game-winning run. Ricardo Rincon started the inning and walked Febles with one out. Sweeney singled for his fourth hit of the game and Jermaine Dye followed with an RBI groundout.

Manny Ramirez saw his Indians' season-high 12-game hitting streak snapped as he went 0-for-4. He also saw his club record-tying streak of nine games with at least one RBI come to an end.

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