Rugby World Cup
This Week's Issue
Life of Reilly
SI for Women
CNN/SI - TV
Golf Pro Shop
MLB Gear Store
NFL Gear Store
SI FOR KIDS
AL Recap (Cleveland-NY Yankees)
Posted: Mon May 31, 1999 at 5:25 p.m. EDTCLEVELAND 7, NY YANKEES 1
BRONX, New York (Ticker) -- Jim Thome belted a grand slam as the Cleveland Indians scored all their runs in their first two at-bats and routed the New York Yankees, 7-1, in a rematch of last year's American League Championship Series.
Manny Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the first inning as the Indians snapped their season-worst three-game skid while ending New York's five-game winning streak.
It was the first meeting between the teams this season. Cleveland squandered a 2-1 lead in the 1998 ALCS and was eliminated in six games by the Yankees, who went on to beat San Diego for their 24th World Series championship.
"I think it was important because we lost three in a row," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "I think it's much too early to place too much emphasis on bragging rights. We've got a lot of baseball to play and last October is a long time ago."
"It's nice coming in here and beating them," added Thome. "But May and October are totally different. We know that and they know that."
Charles Nagy (6-3) survived some shaky moments early and used three double plays to toss seven solid innings, allowing just one run in seven innings. He struck out three and walked four to improve to 8-8 lifetime against the Yankees.
"I made some pitches when I had to," Nagy said. "With the Yankees, they have such a good lineup. They're patient hitters and they make you throw strikes. I was able to throw breaking balls for strikes and got them to swing at sinkers."
Orlando Hernandez (5-5) had allowed just one run over 15 innings in his last two starts but committed a costly error in the second inning that led to five unearned runs, including Thome's third career grand slam and his second in as many games at Yankee Stadium.
Thome hit a grand slam in Game Six of last year's ALCS, a contest the Yankees eventually won, 9-5, to clinch the pennant. It was his first regular-season grand slam since May 17, 1997 at Toronto.
After winning 114 regular-season games during the 1998 season, the Yankees were faced with a must win situation in Game Four of ther ALCS when they turned to Hernandez, who threw seven scoreless innings to tie the series.
But "El Duque" has not has the same success against Cleveland in the regular season. He is 0-2 in three career starts against the team.
"(Hernandez) just wasn't hitting his spots today," said Hargrove. "When he's on his game he's tough to beat."
With runners on first and second and two outs in the top of the second, Roberto Alomar hit a shot towards the right side that first baseman Tino Martinez backhanded and flipped towards the covering Hernandez, who dropped it, loading the bases.
"The throw was very good, I just dropped the throw," Hernandez said.
Ramirez lined a shot off second base umpire Tim Tschida for an RBI single and Thome followed by driving a 1-1 delivery over the left-center field wall to break the game open.
"I haven't really been feeling good at the plate and I just happened to bump into one," said Thome, who had been in an 0-for-13 slump until singling in the first.
"That error cost him and he knows it," Yankee catcher Jorge Posada said. "Make that play and the game would have been different. After they scored the five runs in the second he threw a good game."
The Yankees had a chance in the bottom of the inning as they loaded the bases on singles by Posada and Chad Curtis and Scott Brosius' walk. But Chuck Knoblauch bounced into a double play, ending New York's best threat of the afternoon.
"We had the bases loaded and Chuck hit into a douple play," added Posada. "I think it would have been different if the game was 2-1 and not 7-1."
New York got its only run in the third when Paul O'Neill's ground out scored Derek Jeter, who had tripled and has reached base in all 49 games the Yankees have played this season. But O'Neill would bounce into a double play in the seventh, as would Brosius in the fourth as New York stranded nine base runners.
"Charlie flirted the entire day with letting them back in the ballgame," said Hargrove. "The first game of the series is always a big game."
"This is a big game for us because we are coming off getting swept by the Red Sox," Nagy added. "It's big for us to win this game."
© 2000 Sportsticker Enterprises, LP
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.