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Indians fall short



Published: Tue, April 1, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Baltimore beat Cleveland 6-5 on Gary Matthews Jr.'s run-scoring single in the 13th inning.

COMBINED DISPATCHES

BALTIMORE -- It was a strange opening day at Camden Yards -- even before a fly ball disappeared into a snowstorm.

Gary Matthews Jr. singled home the winning run with two outs in the 13th inning, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Cleveland Indians 6-5 Monday.

The Indians made four errors -- two by pitchers. A passed ball allowed Baltimore to tie the score, and Milton Bradley's misplay of Matthews' hit let in the winning run.

"What happened tonight usually takes five, six, seven, eight games to happen," said Eric Wedge, who was making his major league managerial debut.

The 13th inning

Jose Leon led off the Orioles' 13th with a slow roller to third. Bill Selby charged, grabbed the ball and heaved it over the head of first baseman Casey Blake.

After Marty Cordova struck out, Geronimo Gil topped a ball toward the pitcher's mound. Jake Westbrook bobbled the ball for an error, putting runners at first and second.

Deivi Cruz forced Gil for the second out, sending Leon to third. Then Westbrook hit Jerry Hairston Jr. with a pitch to load the bases, and Matthews followed with a line drive toward Bradley in center.

Bradley took 11/2 steps forward before realizing his mistake. He turned and gave chase, but it was too late, the ball landing behind him for the game-winning single.

Delayed start

"It's a play where you have to get a jump on it right away, and I didn't," said Bradley. "I blew it. We battled our butts off all day, and I couldn't come through for the fellows."

Cleveland scored three runs in the third inning with the aid of a routine fly ball that Baltimore right fielder Jay Gibbons lost between the huge snowflakes that swirled around the stadium.

As the ball hit by Ellis Burks soared skyward, Orioles second baseman Jerry Hairston had just one thought as he ran toward right field.

"I had no idea where the ball was," Hairston said. "So I was like, 'I hope it doesn't hit me in the head."'

Burks was given an RBI single on the play. Then, after a 13-minute delay in which the snow gave way to sunny skies, Karim Garcia hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1.

Sabathia has lead

C.C. Sabathia gave up two runs and eight hits in seven innings in his first opening-day start for Cleveland. He left with a 4-2 lead, but Cordova tied it with a two-run homer in the eighth off reliever David Riske.

Both teams scored one run in the 12th. Omar Vizquel hit an RBI single for the Indians, and Baltimore tied it when Matthews hit a leadoff single and scored on a passed ball by Josh Bard.

Garcia homered in the sixth.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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