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A heroic homecoming: Sabathia stymies Giants



Published: Sat, June 11, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Bay Area native pitched the Indians to a 10-2 victory.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- C.C. Sabathia's teammates had only good things to say about his pitching and hitting. His baserunning and sliding were a different matter.

Sabathia allowed five hits in eight innings and added a two-run double to lead the Cleveland Indians to a 10-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night.

"He's got every right to talk," Indians outfielder Jody Gerut said. "We're going to hear it. We're going to hear him smack talking. He helped out his own cause tonight."

Mixed results

But for all the good he did with his arm and bat, his teammates couldn't let him forget his slide into third base after the throw home on his double got away.

The 290-pound Sabathia rambled into third as Brett Tomko retrieved the errant throw and easily got the out despite Sabathia's headfirst slide where he almost slammed his head into the dirt.

Gerut said Sabathia needed to "get back to basics. It's time to get the slip and slide out and teach him feet first."

Manager Eric Wedge told his pitcher never to slide headfirst again.

Sabathia said he wished he had gotten that advice before breaking for third.

"It looked worse than it was," he said. "But it was bad -- a minor earthquake."

Right at home

Everything else went right for Sabathia, who was born about 40 miles east of here in Vallejo and grew up going to Giants games.

He felt right at home in Cleveland's first game ever in San Francisco, putting on a good show for the approximately 60 friends and family members on hand. He shut down the struggling Giants and delivered a big hit off Tomko (5-8) to give Cleveland a 5-2 lead in the seventh inning.

"He's a great competitor," Giants manager Felipe Alou said. "It wasn't Sabathia's hitting that was the ballgame, it was his pitching."

The meeting was the first between the franchises since Willie Mays and the New York Giants swept the Indians in the 1954 World Series.

It also marked a reunion of sorts as Giants shortstop Omar Vizquel faced his former team for the first time since leaving as a free agent in the offseason.

Vizquel, one of the most popular players during his 11 seasons in Cleveland, visited the Indians clubhouse before the game and went hitless in four at-bats.

Gerut and Grady Sizemore each had three hits for Cleveland, while Aaron Boone and Coco Crisp each drove in two runs.

Moises Alou homered and scored twice for the Giants, who have lost 12 of 14.




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