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AMERICAN LEAGUE Tribe almost pitcher perfect in win over Orioles



Published: Fri, April 4, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Brian Anderson threw eight shutout innings in Cleveland's 3-0 victory.

BALTIMORE (AP) -- If first impressions mean anything, Brian Anderson and Rick Helling should fare better this season than they did as teammates with the Arizona Diamondbacks a year ago.

Anderson got the best of Helling in a friendly pitching duel Thursday night, throwing eight innings of four-hit ball to lead the Cleveland Indians past the Baltimore Orioles 3-0.

With the Diamondbacks last season, Anderson needed 16 appearances and more than two months to earn his first victory. He moved up the timetable dramatically this year with a solid performance in which he permitted only one runner past first base.

"I'll take that out of the gate. It was a pretty emotional night," the left-hander said. "It's the first start of the year, and then I'm going up against my best friend in the game."

Helling took a one-hitter into the sixth inning before faltering.

Key inning

After Milton Bradley drew a one-out walk and Omar Vizquel reached on a bunt, Matt Lawton drove the first pitch far over the right-field wall -- his first hit of the season after an 0-for-7 start.

"I was saying right before I went to bat that I hadn't had a good pitch to hit all night," Lawton said. "I told myself to be ready, and I finally got a good pitch."

The three-run shot proved to be enough offense for Anderson (1-0), who struck out two and walked one in his first appearance with the Indians since Game 7 of the 1997 World Series.

"He's been making steady progress in terms of each and every outing going out there and getting better, being a little bit more crisp," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "Obviously, today it really showed."

Danys Baez pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.

Helling (0-1) gave up three hits and three walks over six innings in his debut with the Orioles.

"I got outpitched tonight," Helling said. "B.A. threw an awesome game. It looked like the first guy to make a mistake, that might be the game. It turned out to be me."

The right-hander retired the first nine batters before Bradley singled to open the fourth. Helling picked Bradley off first, then worked out of a jam in the fifth by striking out Josh Bard with two outs and runners on the corners. But he couldn't escape damage in the sixth.

"Rick just had that one bad inning, threw one bad pitch to Lawton that cost him the game," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said. "It's a shame to waste an effort like that."




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