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By TOM WILLIAMS



Published: Sat, June 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



By TOM WILLIAMS

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

PITTSBURGH -- David Wells. Andy Pettitte. Jimmy Anderson.

Jimmy Anderson?

The Cleveland Indians can add the Pirates' pudgy pitcher to their list of left-handers who have befuddled their bats, as the 25-year-old scattered five hits over seven innings in the Bucs' 6-3 defeat of the Indians on Friday at PNC Park.

"He had a little slider and a sinker and his fastball -- they were all down, and he got every [call]," Indians manager Charlie Manuel said. "But I'm not blaming the umpire. He pitched a tremendous game."

Anderson said, "I felt good early. I kind of slipped a little bit in the fifth and I got a little wild. But after that, I kind of regained myself.

"It was huge to get some runs early and we had some double plays behind me. I was able to throw a good sinker most of the night."

The Pirates pummeled Tribe starter Dave Burba for six runs in their first three at-bats.

"Everything I threw, wherever I threw it, they hit," Burba (8-3) said. "It was one of those nights when it wasn't happening no matter what I tried."

Giles homers: Brian Giles' two-run homer about seven rows up into the right-field seats gave the Pirates a quick first-inning lead.

"It was a split-finger and it was down," said Giles of his 14th homer and his ninth in the past 32 games. "For me, when I do hit home runs, they're in bunches."

Giles said the early lead, a rarity for the struggling Pirates, was crucial.

"It's important for us to go out and get some runs early, and give our starters a chance to relax and feel like they don't have to make a perfect pitch every pitch," Giles said.

"It was nice to get a couple of runs early, especially against this team," the former Indian said. "They can put up a six or seven spot in one inning at any time. It was a big win for us."

Facing the Indians, Anderson said he was far from relaxed.

"You don't want to sit back too much with those guys," Anderson said. "I think just about everyone in their lineup is batting over .300."

Jack Wilson, who scored on Giles' homer, drove in the Pirates' third run in the second inning with a two-out single that brought home Derek Bell.

Burba's difficulties increased in the third inning shortly after Giles led off with a double.

Early shower: Consecutive singles by Aramis Ramirez, Rob Mackowiak and Bell made it 5-0 Pirates and sent Burba to an early shower after just 53 pitches.

After a 7-2 start, Burba has one win in June and two starts where he was chased in the second and third innings.

With Tribe reliever Steve Woodard on the mound, Anderson sacrificed himself with a bunt. Nunez brought in the Bucs' sixth run with a swinging bunt that Tribe second baseman Roberto Alomar couldn't handle.

The Indians scored twice in the fifth inning with two hits, a walk and a wild pitch.

After Einar Diaz singled and Omar Vizquel walked, both advanced when Anderson uncorked a wild pitch to pinch-hitter Marty Cordova.

Cordova singled to shallow right field to bring in Diaz, and Jolbert Cabrera's fielder's choice scored Vizquel to cut the Pirates' lead to 6-2.

Tribe threatens: The Indians threatened in the sixth inning when Juan Gonzalez doubled and alertly took third base when Travis Fryman's hit deflected off third baseman Ramirez's glove into foul territory.

But Anderson (4-6) escaped by striking out Jim Thome and retiring Diaz on a comebacker to the mound.

"Jimmy has been outstanding at times this season," Bucs manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Tonight, he kept the ball down in the zone and he stayed with his sinker against Thome for that big strikeout."

Anderson said, "That was a big out, but I kind of threw a bad pitch. I was trying to throw a slider down and away, and it backed up on me. It went up and in, and he happened to swing at it.

"I think it handcuffed him because I think he was looking for it away. That's why I was kind of smiling."

Alomar scored the Tribe's third run in the eighth inning after Bucs reliever Rich Loiselle walked him. Alomar stole second base and scored on Gonzalez's single.

Left-hander Scott Sauerbeck whiffed Thome to end the inning.

With two outs in the ninth, Bucs closer Mike Williams walked pinch-hitter Eddie Taubensee but ended the game by getting Russell Branyan to fly out.

"We're not playing good baseball right now," said Manuel after the Indians' third straight loss and fifth in seven games. "We had some chances down 6-3 and we didn't get anything. We fell back into not getting it done."

williams@vindy.com




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