Laying Down The Law
Matt Lawton watches his three-run homer.
Matt Lawton watches his three-run homer.
Indians Ink
Posted Aug 7, 2004


It wasn't exactly the "Shot Heard Round The World," but the AL Central is covering its ears.

Matt Lawton hit a dramatic three-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Indians a 6-5 victory over the White Sox in Chicago on Saturday night.

With one swing, Lawton:

* Turned a 5-3 deficit into a 6-5 lead;
* Gave Cleveland its fourth win in a row;
* Handed Chicago its fourth straight loss;
* And put the Indians into second place over the Chisox.


Lawton drove a 2-0 pitch off the previously invincible Shingo Takatsu inches over the center-field wall with one out in the ninth.

The Indians' left-fielder told reporters he was looking for "something slow" from Takatsu (4-3), who likes to toss 70-mph changeups. "The first two pitches I didn't really see that well, but he threw me a changeup and I was able to hit it pretty well," Lawton said. "I was just hoping it could carry, man."

Takatsu, nicknamed "Mr. Zero," had allowed only two earned runs in his last 33 outings since April and had been 9-for-9 in save chances since taking over as Chicago's closer.

Coco Crisp opened the ninth with a single, but was forced at second on a grounder by Jody Gerut. Then rookie Grady Sizemore singled in the first pinch-hitting appearance of his career.

"Those were some good at-bats right there," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "Coco worked the count and got a good pitch to hit. Jody did, too, and Grady came up big."

So did Lawton. He hammered his 18th homer to give the streaking Indians their 11th win in 16 games and sent the reeling White Sox to their 11th loss in 13 outings.

Matt Miller (4-1) got the win with a scoreless eighth. Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his fourth save -- and third in three days.

"Bob came to the park tonight and said he felt good," Wedge said of the veteran closer, who returned to the team last month.

Wickman worked three games in a row for the first time since having elbow surgery in 2002 and missing nearly two complete seasons.

Roberto Alomar and Juan Uribe homered in Chicago's five-run sixth inning that erased the Indians' 3-0 lead.

Alomar, the former Indians all-star second baseman who was reacquired by the White Sox in a trade with Arizona on Thursday, homered to left off Tribe starter Cliff Lee following a single by Ben Davis and walk to Aaron Rowand to tie the score, 3-3.

Carl Everett, also recently reacquired by Chicago, just missed a homer two outs later when his drive hit the top of the left-field fence and bounced back onto the field. Celebratory home-run fireworks went off, but TV replays showed that third-base umpire Bruce Froemming ruled correctly that the ball did not leave the park and Everett got a double.

Then Uribe left no doubt, hitting his 15th homer to right for a 5-3 White Sox lead.

"Cliff got some pitches up in the zone that inning," Wedge said. "But overall, he pitched much better. He was still strong that inning, he just put some pitches where he didn't want to put them."

Lee gave up seven hits and five runs over six innings. The left-hander had been rocked for 19 runs and 23 hits in his previous three starts.

Lawton also got the Indians off to a quick start. He walked to open the game off Chicago starter Freddy Garcia and went to third on a double by Omar Vizquel. Both scored on a double by Casey Blake for a 2-0 lead.

Cleveland made it 3-0 in the fourth. Ronnie Belliard doubled, Crisp reached on an infield single and Belliard scored on Jody Gerut's grounder.

Vizquel also turned in a couple of fielding gems that kept Chicago from doing more damage against Lee. He raced into left field and made a diving catch to rob Carlos Lee of a bloop hit, then on the next play, made a diving stop of a sharp grounder hit by Paul Konerko.


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