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INDIANS Split with White Sox acceptable



Published: Tue, April 22, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Cleveland scored 16 runs in its last two games, both victories.

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians never gave Jon Garland a chance.

Karim Garcia hit the first of his two home runs in the first inning, igniting an offensive outburst that continued into the ninth Monday as the Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 9-2.

"If you get a guy early, that usually is a good sign," said Ellis Burks, who also homered twice and finished the day 3-for-5. "Once a pitcher settles in and gets in a groove, it's hard to shake him. We got to him early, and it showed."

Season-high runs

The Indians scored a season-high nine runs and had 13 hits. Every starter but one got on base, and Brandon Phillips reached on all four at-bats.

It was the second straight victory for the Indians, their first winning streak since the season-opening series in Baltimore.

"It's not something that just happens. The hitting is coming," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "It's moving forward and starting to come together for a couple of guys."

Carlos Lee ruined the Indians' chance for a shutout, tying a club record with a home run in his fifth straight game. Lee hit a two-run shot in the sixth.

Cleveland has been scuffling this season as it adjusts to a lineup without Jim Thome, searching for something to jump-start the offense. The Indians might score runs in bunches one day, then struggle to get a couple the next.

But Saturday's brutal 12-3 loss to the White Sox might have been the turning point. The Indians have scored 16 runs in the last two games. Cleveland also lost on Friday, 5-3.

And after beginning the season with only 11 homers, they had five in the last two days.

Aggressive at plate

"We're just being more aggressive at the plate," Burks said. "Even if you miss, guys know you're going to be aggressive."

The Indians knocked Garland (0-2) out in the third. The right-hander allowed five runs and five hits in 22/3 innings, and also walked two.

Garland retired his first batter, then gave up a single to Omar Vizquel. That brought up Garcia, who sent a 3-1 pitch over the right-field wall.

Milton Bradley added a two-run double in the second, and Burks made it 5-0 with his first homer, a solo shot, in the third. After Garland walked Casey Blake, White Sox manager Jerry Manuel decided he'd seen enough.

"After we got a couple of runs, he started pressing a bit," Garcia said. "He never went back to his original form, I guess."

Burks hit another solo shot in the fifth, and Garcia wrapped up the scoring with a two-run homer off of Billy Koch in the ninth.

That was more than enough to get Jake Westbrook (1-2) his first victory as a starter since July 25, 2001. The White Sox gave him a little help, too. Chicago stranded five in the three innings, including a man at third twice.

Made the pitches

"Jake continues to do a great job starting," Wedge said. "He had to fight through a couple of innings, but he made pitches when he had to. Sometimes it comes easier, and sometimes it's a little harder. Today, things were a little harder for Jake."

Westbrook allowed two runs and six hits in 52/3 innings.

"It's nice to get a win," he said. "It's even nicer for our offense to start well."

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




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