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Sabathia improves, Indians win


Published: Wed, March 8, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


The Indians ace allowed one earned run in three innings against Detroit.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
LAKELAND, Fla. -- C.C. Sabathia was much better in his second spring training start.
Cleveland's ace allowed one earned run in three innings Tuesday as the Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 7-4.
Sabathia struck out four, walked one and gave up two runs overall. On Friday, he allowed seven runs in 1 2/3 innings against Houston.
"He was better today than in his first outing, and he'll continue to get better," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "He's still working to command his fastball and get a feel for his secondary stuff."
Travis Hafner and Ryan Mulhern hit two-out, two-run homers for the Indians.
Tigers right-hander Matt Mantei left the game with one out and the bases loaded in the ninth because of a suffered a strained left oblique muscle.
"It's not good," Mantei said. "I can barely breathe."
The real deal
Brent Clevelen hit an RBI double in the second, then homered to tie it 4-all in the sixth. The 22-year-old outfielder is batting 6-for-10 with six runs, two doubles, two homers and three RBIs in five games.
"He's the real deal, there's no question about that," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "It's spring training, so you've got to be careful.
"I'm not making my judgments on a home run or two that he hit. But let's face it, over the years every now and then -- but not very often -- you see a player in his uniform and you know that guy's a big league player. It doesn't happen very often, but he certainly looks the part to me."
Detroit right-hander Kevin Hodge struck out two after giving up a leadoff double to Hafner in the seventh. Mulhern followed with his homer.
Hafner's first homer of spring training hit the roof of the indoor batting cages beyond the right-field fence.
Detroit starter Ramon Colon gave up two runs and five hits in three innings.
Tigers left-hander Mike Maroth, who was scratched from Tuesday's game, is expected to start Sunday. Maroth, who has pitched at least 200 innings the last two seasons, took a few days to rest some inflammation in his elbow.
Pirates 10, Braves 5
BRADENTON, Fla. -- While it remains to be seen whether the Pittsburgh Pirates improve their power this season, there's a chance they'll boost it at their top farm team.
Brad Eldred, Jose Bautista and Nate McLouth homered in a victory over the Atlanta Braves.
After ranking 12th in the NL last season with 139 homers, the Pirates added Sean Casey, Jeromy Burnitz and Joe Randa. The three players who homered against Atlanta are expected to be among the Pirates' top hitting prospects at Triple-A Indianapolis.
"Some of the free agents we signed have been known to hit home runs," Bautista said. "And I think some of our young players have pretty good pop, as well. It's just a matter of time until we're hitting like this consistently."
Zach Duke, 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA as a rookie last season, allowed two runs and seven hits in three innings, his second straight shaky start. He gave up Wilson Betemit's RBI single in the first and James Jurries' single in the third that gave the Braves a 2-1 lead.
Duke once again blamed his two-seam fastball.
"I felt a little bit inconsistent out there," he said. "My mechanics were all over the place."
Atlanta starter Chuck James, 9-1 for Double-A Mississippi last season, gave up one run and two hits in two innings. Brad Baker allowed six runs and six hits in two innings, including the home runs by Eldred and Bautista.


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