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Shuey struggles in ninth



Published: Wed, June 13, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



By TOM WILLIAMS

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

CLEVELAND -- Indians reliever Paul Shuey fell apart in the ninth inning of Tuesday's tie game at Jacobs Field, triggering the Tribe's 4-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.

But Shuey wasn't the only Indian to not come through in the clutch as the Tribe stranded 10 baserunners in their first six at-bats.

"It was just one of those nights," Indians manager Charlie Manuel said. "When we needed a flyball or a groundball, we couldn't get it. We just didn't get a big hit."

With runners in scoring position, Tribe batters went one-for-seven against Brewers starter Jimmy Haynes, who scattered nine hits in the no-decision.

Meanwhile, former Indian Richie Sexson, who was traded to the Brewers last July in the deal that brought pitchers Bob Wickman, Steve Woodard and Jason Bere to Cleveland, knocked in the game-winning run with the Brewers' third consecutive hit off Shuey in the final frame.

After Mark Loretta singled and pinchrunner James Mouton stole second base, Geoff Jenkins hit the ball past diving second baseman Roberto Alomar to put Mouton at third base with no outs.

"All I was thinking about was flyball, groundball up the middle, a hopper to the shortstop -- whatever to get that guy in," Sexson said.

Not a factor: The Brewers' first baseman said playing with Shuey for three seasons wasn't a factor in his key at-bat.

"Paul's got three pitches he throws effectively for strikes and you never know what he's going to throw in what count," Sexson said.

Shuey threw him a split-fingered fastball because "it was tumbling a little bit at the end."

Manuel said he stuck with Shuey (5-3) because he thought his 30-year-old reliever had the pitches to strike out Sexson.

"Richie hit that splitter [well]," Manuel said. "If Shuey makes quality pitches, he can get him out. He made a mistake."

One out later, Angel Echevarria doubled to score Sexson with an insurance run.

The Tribe's offensive struggles wasted a strong effort by left-hander C.C. Sabathia, who survived through seven innings for the first time, allowing two runs on three hits.

"I felt good out there because I was throwing strikes," said Sabathia, who struck out a career-high seven batters but hasn't won since May 26. "That's something I haven't been doing."

But both of the Brewers' first two runs came after key steals against the 20-year-old rookie.

"That's something he has to get better at," said Manuel of Sabathia holding baserunners. "We had that one guy picked off, but C.C. took too long to dump the ball off to [first baseman Jim] Thome."

Manuel was referring to Ronnie Belliard's second-inning play where he broke for second and beat Thome's throw.

"There's not a problem with my pickoff move," Sabathia said. "I just lobbed it over to Thome."

Sabathia admitted he hasn't much experience with baserunners.

Exposed: "In high school, nobody was ever on base when I pitched," Sabathia said. "In the minor leagues, I had a few baserunners, but nobody exposed me like they do up here."

Henry Blanco's two-out single scored Belliard for a 2-1 Brewers' lead.

Over the next five innings, Sabathia allowed just two baserunners.

"We're a free-swinging team -- C.C. settled down and did a heckuva job," Sexson said. "When we saw Shuey come in, we thought 'good' even though he's one of the best bullpen pitchers in the game. We were thankful that C.C. was done."

The Brewers wasted no time taking a 1-0 lead as Devon White slammed Sabathia's first pitch off the left-field wall for a double. White stole third base then scored on Loretta's sacrifice fly.

Haynes walked three batters in the first inning, but gave up only one run when Kenny Lofton scored on a sacrifice fly by Juan Gonzalez.

Thome's solo homer in the third inning -- his 17th of the season and 250th of his career -- tied the score.

Haynes also survived seven innings by scattering nine hits.

"I had some good plays behind me tonight to help me out," Haynes said. "I started locating [the ball] better.

"Those first few innings, I was missing just 5, 6 inches off the plate every time," Haynes said. "It took me a couple of innings to get me dialed in to where I wanted to be."

Reliever Chris Fox (2-0) retired three batters in the eighth to get the win. Curt Leskanic also retired the side in the ninth for his seventh save.

williams@vindy.com




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