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World Series 2001
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10/14/2001 01:04 AM ET
Indians roll over Mariners
By Carrie Muskat
MLB.com
Vizquel went 4-6 with a postseason team record six RBIs.
Game highlights: 56k | 300k
Sabathia highlights: 56k | 300k
Vizquel's six ribbies: 56k | 300k
Indians erupt in the 8th: 56k | 300k
Box Score

CLEVELAND -- C.C. Sabathia looked all grown up Saturday and yet he felt like a kid in a toy store.

The Cleveland rookie was solid over six innings and the Indians uncorked their offense to romp 17-2 over the bumbling Seattle Mariners to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five American League Division Series.

At 21 years 85 days, Sabathia (1-0) is the second-youngest pitcher to win a Division Series game behind Fernando Valenzuela. And he was thrilled. In 1981 there was a Division Series played due to the strike.

"The closest thing I can put it to is I was a little kid and my mom took me to Toys R Us and you could pick out anything you want," Sabathia said. "I was like a little kid in a candy store. That's the closest thing I can say (to describe his emotion)."

Omar Vizquel drove in a club-record six runs and Juan Gonzalez, Kenny Lofton and Jim Thome each hit solo homers for the Indians, apparently very happy to be home at Jacobs Field.

Cleveland's offense is no longer sleepwalking against Seattle. The Indians' 17 runs and 19 hits were both team highs for the postseason. The 17-2 final was the Indians' largest margin of victory in the postseason.

"Maybe we tired them out tonight and they won't come out and swing the bats tomorrow," Seattle manager Lou Piniella said.

The Mariners can only blame themselves. Two errors and a less than stellar defense contributed to the loss, which Piniella called "the worst game we played all year."

Game 4 will feature a rematch between Game 1 starters Bartolo Colon (1-0), who won the opener with a 10-strikeout effort, and Seattle's Freddy Garcia (0-1).

With St. Louis and New York winning Saturday, extending their series another day, the Seattle-Cleveland game will be played at 1 p.m. ET.

"I don't think it'll have much of an impact," Piniella said of having to play less than 24 hours later. "I'll have one less glass of wine."

The Mariners didn't douse each other with champagne to celebrate winning the American League West. They clinched after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the feeling was that the timing wasn't right and there would be plenty to celebrate later as Seattle rode its 116-win season into the playoffs.

The Indians don't want to make that five-hour flight to Seattle for one game.

"We got one more game to win," Indians Manager Charlie Manuel said. "I tell our players, we're going to come out and play. Do we want to win? You bet your butt we do."

Gonzalez, Lofton, Vizquel and Thome entered the game a combined 6-for-33 (.181) in the first two games. On Saturday, the four went 11-for-21. Gonzalez homered to lead off the third and Lofton connected with one out in the fifth, his fourth postseason blast.

Thome's blast leading off the sixth was historic. It was his 17th postseason homer, and he is now one shy of the Major League record of 18 shared by Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle.

All three home runs were off reliever Paul Abbott as Seattle starter Aaron Sele (0-1) was knocked out after two innings, giving up four runs on five hits. Sele remained winless in five postseason starts.

Was he surprised to be taken out?

"Yeah," Sele said.

He also was stunned at the M's sloppy defense.

"It's very uncharacteristic about the way we played all year," Sele said.

None of the Mariners had ever faced Sabathia, the youngest pitcher ever to start an ALDS game. He struggled in the first. Ichiro Suzuki singled to lead off and reached third on Mike Cameron's double off the left-field wall. Sabathia then struck out Bret Boone but intentionally walked Edgar Martinez to load the bases and face John Olerud who was 0-for-7 in the series. Olerud worked the count to 3-2, fouled two pitches off and then drew a walk, forcing in Ichiro.

"Robbie (Alomar) came up to talk to me and said, 'Everybody knows you can pitch. Just settle down and throw strikes,'" Sabathia said. "It helped me out a lot."

Sabathia (1-0) got the next two batters to pop up and stranded three.

"I told you guys the first inning would be important to him," Manuel said. "The first inning, his adrenaline was going. He got behind and once he settled in he was fine."

"I think C.C. all along has proved he's been our guy," Thome said. "When we've needed a big win, he's always stepped up. You sure can't tell he's 21-years-old. He's a special kid."

Sabathia said he slept fine Friday night and wasn't overwhelmed by his first postseason start -- until it started.

"When I got out there on the mound, I was excited, nervous, all in one. It was a totally different feeling," Sabathia said. "I think that's what shook me up in the first."

It helped to have all those runs.

"As the lead grew more and more, after it was 2-1, I just wanted to go out there and put up a zero," Sabathia said. "As we kept building a lead, I kept throwing fastballs."

"You have to give the guy credit," Cameron said. "He did a good job staying with his game plan and getting out of a very important inning."

All of the Indians and the 45,000 in the stands, including his mother Margie, and everyone watching on television knew Sabathia was nervous.

"I came into the dugout (after the first) and looked at Dick (Pole, pitching coach) and I laughed," Sabathia said. "He said, 'Go out and put up a zero.'"

In the M's seventh, the rookie pitcher gave up a leadoff double to David Bell and walked Mark McLemore, prompting a visit from Pole. Ichiro then singled, scoring Bell and ending Sabathia's stint. He left to loud cheers and towel waving from the crowd of 45,069, giving up six hits and five walks over six-plus innings. He struck out five, including Bret Boone three times.

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"I watched Jaret Wright pitch in '97. He had no fear," Sabathia said of another young Indians pitcher. "I think that's the attitude you have to take. As far as me pitching the whole year, those 30 odd starts, nothing compared to the start I had today. I never felt like I did today. Hopefully, I can get a lot more."

The Indians backed the rookie right away, taking a 2-1 lead in the first on Alomar's RBI double and Gonzalez's RBI single. In the Cleveland second, Travis Fryman reached on a throwing error by Bret Boone and one out later, Einar Diaz singled to set up Vizquel's triple to right, opening a 4-1 lead.

Sele departed after two and Gonzalez rudely greeted Abbott by launching the first pitch into the SRO section in left to make it 5-1. Einar Diaz added a RBI single, the Indians loaded the bases and Vizquel drove in a run with an infield hit. Abbott then walked Alomar to force in a run and open an 8-1 lead.

Then it got out of hand in the eighth. Vizquel hit a three-run double and that was followed by back-to-back RBI doubles by Alomar and Gonzalez.

"Hopefully those guys got some good home cooking," Thome said of his teammates. "If playing here makes them comfortable and gets them going, then that's what we need."

"This guy pitched tough," Piniella said of Sabathia. "What made it easier for him was that they had nine runs on the board before the game was one-third old. That settles you down pretty easy, pretty quickly as a pitcher. You get that type of lead and control."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com.

Box score

Indians 17, Mariners 2

Jacobs Field

FINAL

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Mariners 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 7 3
Indians 2 2 4 0 1 3 0 5 x 17 19 0
Mariners AB R H RBI TB BB K AVG SLG
Ichiro Suzuki - RF 4 1 2 1 2 0 0 .545 .636
Ed Sprague - PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Mike Cameron - CF 4 0 2 0 4 1 1 .250 .667
Bret Boone - 2B 4 0 0 0 0 1 4 .083 .083
Edgar Martinez - DH 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 .200 .500
John Olerud - 1B 3 0 0 1 0 1 0 .000 .000
Jay Buhner - LF 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .000
a-Al Martin - PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Ramon Vazquez - SS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - -
Dan Wilson - C 3 0 1 0 2 0 0 .222 .333
b-Tom Lampkin - PH-C 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000
David Bell - 3B 4 1 2 0 3 0 1 .444 .889
Mark McLemore - SS-LF 2 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .000c
C-Charles Gipson - PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
Totals 33 2 7 2 11 6 8 - -
Batting:
a-grounded to pitcher for Buhner in the 8th; b-struck out for Wilson in the 8th; c-grounded to first for Mclemore in the 9th; d-grounded to shortstop for Suzuki in the 9th.

2B - Cameron 2 (2, Sabathia, Rocker); Wilson (1, Sabathia); Bell (1, Sabathia).
RBI - Olerud (1), Suzuki (1).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - Wilson 2, Olerud 2, Boone 1.
Team LOB - 10.

Fielding:
E - Suzuki (1, bobble); Boone (1, throw); Buhner (1, throw). Outfield assists - Buhner (Alomar at home). DP: 1 (Mclemore-Olerud).
Indians AB R H RBI TB BB K AVG SLG
Kenny Lofton - CF 3 2 1 2 4 2 0 .091 .364
Omar Vizquel - SS 6 2 4 6 7 0 0 .429 .643
Roberto Alomar - 2B 4 2 3 3 5 2 0 .308 .538
Juan Gonzalez - RF 6 1 4 3 9 0 0 .400 .733
Jim Thome - 1B 6 1 2 1 5 0 2 .231 .462
Ellis Burks - DH 4 2 1 0 1 1 0 .500 .833
Travis Fryman - 3B 4 2 0 0 0 1 1 .182 .182
Russell Branyan - LF 3 1 1 0 1 0 1 .333 .333
a-Jolbert Cabrera - PH-LF 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1.000 1.000
Einar Diaz - C 4 3 2 1 2 1 0 .364 .364
Totals 41 17 19 17 35 7 4 - -
Batting:
a-singled for Branyan in the 6th

2B - Alomar 2 (3, Sele, Paniagua); Gonzalez 2 (2, Abbott, Paniagua); Vizquel (1, Paniagua). 3B - Vizquel (1, Sele).
HR
- Gonzalez (1, 3rd inning off Abbott 0 on, 0 out); Lofton (1, 5th inning off Abbott 0 on, 1 out); Thome (1, 6th inning off Abbott 0 on, 0 out).
SF
- Lofton.
RBI
- Alomar 3 (3), Gonzalez 3 (4), Vizquel 6 (6), Diaz (2), Lofton 2 (2), Thome (1), Cabrera (1).
2-out RBI
- Vizquel 6, Diaz, Alomar 2, Gonzalez.
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out
- Alomar 1, Gonzalez 2, Vizquel 1, Thome 1.
GIDP
- Gonzalez. Team LOB - 9.

Fielding:
Outfield assists - Gonzalez (Wilson at home).
Mariners IP H R ER BB K PIT B-S BF ERA
Aaron Sele (L, 0-1) 2 5 4 2 0 0 35 13-22 12 9.00
Paul Abbott 3 9 8 8 5 3 81 38-43 22 24.00
John Halama 2 2 0 0 0 1 22 5-17 7 0.00
Jose Paniagua 1 3 5 5 2 0 31 14-17 9 27.00
Pitching:
Abbott pitched to 3 batters in the 6th.
HBP - Cabrera (by Paniagua).
Ground balls-fly balls: Sele 3-3; Abbott 1-4; Halama 3-2; Paniagua 3-0.
Indians IP H R ER BB K PIT B-S BF ERA
C.C. Sabathia (W, 1-0) 6 6 2 2 5 5 113 46-67 28 3.00
David Riske 0.2 0 0 0 1 1 14 6-8 3 0.00
Ricardo Rincon 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 5 2-3 1 0.00
Dave Burba 1 0 0 0 0 1 10 2-8 3 0.00
John Rocker 1 1 0 0 0 1 9 2-7 4 0.00
Pitching:
Sabathia pitched to 3 batters in the 7th.
IBB - E Martinez (by Sabathia).
Ground balls-fly balls: Sabathia 8-4; Riske 0-1; Rincon 1-0; Burba 1-1; Rocker 2-0..
Umpires: HP--Paul Schrieber. 1B--Rick Reed. 2B--Ed Rapuano. 3B--Greg Gibson. LF--Dana Demuth. RF--Jeff Nelson.
Time of game: 3:24
Attendance: 45,069
Weather: 77 and Mildly Cloudy Wind: 14 MPH left to right
BOXSCORE COURTESY OF SPORTSTICKER ENTERPRISES, L.P. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED