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Published: Friday, 6/20/2003

Tribe sweeps, Tigers sag

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

DETROIT - Depending on what side of the fence you're looking from probably determines how you look at the Cleveland Indians three-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers.

From Cleveland's standpoint, it would be easy to consider the thought that things are looking up for the Indians after a 10-3 victory before 19,098 yesterday afternoon at Comerica Park. The three-game sweep of the Tigers is the Indians' first three-game win streak on the road this season.

“It's definitely nice to sweep a series and it doesn't matter who it's against,” said Casey Blake, who went 3-for-5, including a solo home run to lead off a four-run fifth.

“It wasn't just one or two guys contributing in the three-game sweep and that's a big confidence booster as a team.”

Cleveland (29-41) improved to 8-2 against Detroit (17-52) this season. The Indians' mastery of the Tigers includes a 5-1 record at Comerica Park. Detroit, which has played 35 games at home, has won at Comerica Park only six times.

Cleveland's latest triumph resulted in matching the most runs scored in a game for the Indians this season. They belted out 14 hits with Milton Bradley, Tim Laker and Blake coming through with three hits apiece. Bradley tagged his sixth home run of the season to go along with a double and single while driving in two RBI. Laker produced two doubles and a single while driving in a pair of runs as well.

Blake had a double and single to go along with his sixth homer of the year.

“I don't feel any better at the plate, it's just that sometimes you get hits and sometimes you don't,” Blake said. “Getting hits is lucky. You can feel good at the plate and sometimes you line out two or three times in a game and you feel bad. Sometimes you get a couple of bleeders in there.

“So, I wouldn't say I feel better than any other time.”

Cleveland left-hander Brian Anderson didn't look like a pitcher who stepped on the mound for the midweek afternoon contest with a losing record. He pitched six solid innings, allowing only two runs on six hits while striking out four and walking one to improve to 4-6.

Anderson provided the Indians with a third straight good outing from a starter. The Tigers' two runs off Anderson came on A.J. Hinch's sacrifice fly in the fifth and Dmitri Young's solo homer in the sixth. Warren Morris hit a solo shot late in the game for the Tigers' final run.

“Brian Anderson was very good,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “I felt like he did a good job. He worked his fastball inside to open up the outside half [of the plate]. He did a good job of utilizing that today.”

The view from Detroit isn't so pleasant.

The Tigers appear to be heading further and further downward on a roller-coaster ride, with no upward climb within sight.

After the Tigers' 12th loss in 13 outings, Detroit Tigers manager Alan Trammell isn't the only individual dealing daily with the mounting losses. It's prevalent throughout the Tigers clubhouse.

Craig Monroe, currently 1-for-11 in his last 11 at-bats, is one of several young players that spent a good portion of last season playing in Toledo.

Monroe said Andres Torres, Omar Infante, Ramon Santiago and himself, who were all key players in the Mud Hens' winning season last season, understand the situation.

“We're all are going to have to play up to our capabilities,” Monroe said. ““We've got to take this personally. We have to keep going out and battling every day.

“We have to make sure that we're taking the right approach and we're learning from our mistakes and not making the same mistakes over and over.”

Eric Munson was perhaps the lone bright spot for the Tigers during the series. He went 3-for-4 in the final game and was 7-for-9 for the series.

“I'm getting some hits but they're not really resulting in helping our team win,” Munson said. “So, it's kind of insignificant right now.”

Cleveland scored six runs off of Detroit right-hander Nate Cornejo, including the game-deciding four runs in the fifth. Cornejo (3-5) was tagged for six hits while striking out one and walking one to suffer the loss.



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