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Brand-New Baines Wins Game

After traveling up 20 games in the standings, Harold Baines stepped into the batter's box and a dizzying six hours slowed to a crawl.

Baines, acquired in a trade earlier on Friday from Baltimore, hurried into Jacobs Field, quickly threw on his new jersey and drove in two runs in his first at-bat for Cleveland, leading the Indians over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2-1.

"Once you get the uniform on, all the other stuff is gone," he said.

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Game Summary

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  • Rushing from the airport, Baines arrived at the ballpark 50 minutes before the first pitch. Before dressing, he stopped in the office of Indians manager Mike Hargrove, who had Baines penciled in at DH and batting fifth.

    "I said, I've got you in the starting lineup," Hargrove said. "Are you tired? And he said, 'A little, let me put my uniform on."'

    Baines, wearing No. 33, then hit a two-run single in the first for all the runs the Indians would get or need against Rolando Arrojo (4-9).

    "That pretty much sums up what he's all about," Hargrove said.

    Dave Burba (11-7) pitched around trouble all night, allowing one run a homer and six hits in eight innings. He walked four, struck out five and and helped by three Cleveland double plays.

    The Devil Rays got the tying run to third in the ninth when Mike Jackson walked Wade Boggs and made a fielding error on Jose Guillen's bunt, but Jackson got pinch-hitter Terrell Lowery on a game-ending grounder for his 30th save.

    Manny Ramirez went 3-for-4 and Roberto Alomar had two hits and stole his 30th base for for Cleveland.

    Paul Sorrento homered for the Devil Rays, who also turned three double plays but lost for just the fourth time in their last 13.

    After boarding an afternoon flight in Detroit, where the Orioles were playing the Tigers, Baines missed batting practice and barely had time to meet his new teammates.

    Alomar bunted for a two-out single and Ramirez followed with a double down the left-field line, bringing up Baines, obtained for minor league pitcher Juan Aracena and a player to be named.

    Baines fell behind 1-2 in the count before slapping a two-run single off the wall in left-center for a 2-0 lead. As he stood at first base, the 356th consecutive sellout crowd gave the 40-year-old a standing ovation.

    Baines said he wasn't shocked at being traded, "nothing surprises me in baseball" but expected to be dealt before the July 31 trading deadline not in late August.

    Still, as much as he enjoyed playing in Baltimore, there is nothing Baines wants more to close out a stellar career than a World Series ring.

    "It's nice to be playing for something," he said.

    Baines and the Orioles flew to Detroit from Kansas City late Thursday night. He wasn't informed of the trade until 1:30 Friday afternoon and had to quickly get his things together to get to Cleveland.

    "They wanted me here right away," he said. "It's been a long day."

    Baines flied out in his next two at-bats, and drew a two-out walk in the eighth.

    Cleveland's defense helped Burba get out of three jams in the first six innings by turning double plays. Burba started the first one in the third, snagging Bubba Trammell's hard comebacker before throwing to second for the first out.

    "The defense made a lot of great plays," said Burba, 4-1 with a 2.91 ERA in his last eigtht starts. "I really don't even know how I caught that ball up the middle."

    Sorrento connected for his 11th homer leading off the fifth. But after putting two runners on, Burba struck out Trammell and got Fred McGriff on a groundout.

    It was the second straight strong outing for Burba, who pitched 7 1-3 shutout innings at Seattle in his previous start.

    Arrojo allowed nine hits in eight innings, but wished he could have had the pitch he threw to Baines back.

    "It's a shame to waste a pitching performance like that," said catcher John Flaherty. "The ball Baines hit was the only pitch Rolando didn't put where he wanted."


  • Brien Taylor, a former No. 1 overall drat pick of the New York Yankees whose career was sidetracked by an arm injury, signed a minor league deal with the Indians last week. He was in Cleveland for a physical Friday and will report to the team's Single-A Kinston (N.C.) affiliate.
  • Tampa Bay DH Jose Canseco was a last-minute scratch due to back spasms.
  • The Devil Rays placed RHP Dave Eiland on the 15-day disabled list and recalled LHP Alan Newman from Triple-A Durham.
  • Indians shortstop Omar Vizquel removed himself after three innings because of the flu.
  • Hargrove said pitcher Jaret Wright, out with a back strain, would make a rehab start on Sept. 2 at Buffalo against Rochester.

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