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AMERICAN LEAGUE Indians give Wedge first win at helm



Published: Thu, April 3, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Ricardo Rodriguez was sharp in Cleveland's 4-2 victory.

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Eric Wedge doesn't collect memorabilia or souvenirs, and he rarely saves a memento of a particular game.

Cleveland's new manager made an exception Wednesday night, latching onto a pair of keepsakes after the Indians' 4-2 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

It was the Indians' first win under Wedge and his initial victory as a major league manager. Wedge, 35, saved the lineup card and was presented with the game ball by Cleveland center fielder Milton Bradley, who caught the last out.

"He tossed me the ball, and that's something I'll gladly accept from that young man," said Wedge.

Ellis Burks drove in two runs for the Indians, who rebounded from a 6-5, 13-inning loss to Baltimore on Monday to give Wedge a memorable victory.

"I know it's special to him," Bradley said. "It's the first of many; he should have gotten it Monday."

Rodriguez winner

Cleveland rookie Ricardo Rodriguez (1-0) gave up one run and four hits in seven innings in his eighth career start. His only costly mistake came in the second, when he yielded a solo home run to Tony Batista.

"I wanted to get ground balls and fly balls and have my players make plays," the right-hander said.

Rodriguez out-pitched Omar Daal (0-1), who allowed four runs and eight hits in 61/3 innings in his debut with the Orioles. Daal, the first left-hander in the Baltimore rotation since Jimmy Key in 1998, struck out seven and walked two.

Daal was pulled in the seventh with one out, runners on second and third and Cleveland ahead 2-1. Willis Roberts entered and promptly gave up a two-run single to Burks.

After Rodriguez left, Jose Santiago gave up a home run to Deivi Cruz leading off the eighth. But Carl Sadler got the final two outs of the inning and Danys Baez worked a perfect ninth for his first save.

The top four players in the Baltimore lineup went 0-for-15 with four strikeouts.

"We got into counts that were in our favor, then over-swung at times or went after bad pitches," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said.

Cleveland used a double by Shane Spencer and an RBI single by Travis Hafner to go up 1-0 in the second, but Batista tied it in the bottom half with a shot into the left-field seats.

After a throwing error by Daal allowed a run to score in the third, the Indians loaded the bases with no outs. But Daal struck out Spencer and Karim Garcia before retiring Hafner on a grounder.

In the Baltimore half, Jay Gibbons hit a two-out single and went to third on a double by Batista before Rodriguez got Melvin Mora to hit a routine fly to right.

"You can't say enough about the way [Rodriguez] pitched," Wedge said. "He just showed a tremendous amount of composure. He did everything we asked him to do."




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