Tom Candiotti is glad to be back in Cleveland.
Judging from his first appearance with the team in eight years, the Indians are even happier to have him.
Candiotti pitched 5 2-3 innings of scoreless relief, and David Justice homered to cap the Indians' comeback from an eight-run deficit for a 9-8 victory over the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
"It was a real emotional day to come back here and contribute," said Candiotti (4-5). "I can't describe how happy I am to be back with this team."
The knuckleballer, signed June 29 after Oakland released him, retired 17 of 19 batters, allowing only a bunt single to Carlos Febles in the sixth and a double to Febles in the eighth. He struck out four and walked none in his first relief appearance since June 20, 1997.
"Those were my first two hits off a knuckleball pitcher," Febles said. "Even though I got those hits, he was really tough. He threw a soft one and a hard one and they were really moving."
Candiotti got his first win for Cleveland since June 2, 1991. He spent 5½ years with the Indians before being traded in the midst of a 1991 season in which Cleveland went 57-105.
Mike Jackson pitched a one-hit ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.
"I'll state the obvious," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "Candiotti was outstanding. Our bullpen is really tired and he saved us. When he came in, he just could not allow another run for us to have any hope of winning."
Kansas City took an 8-0 lead in the second inning but had just three hits after that. Cleveland closed with three in the bottom half and tied it with a five-run sixth capped by Pat Borders' RBI single.
Justice, 3-for-4 with two RBI, then connected off Mark Pisciotta (0-2) in the seventh, giving the Indians their 32nd comeback win of the season and second from eight down. On May 7, Cleveland overcame a 10-2 deficit to rout Tampa Bay 20-11.
Charles Nagy allowed eight runs, seven hits and three walks in two innings, his shortest start since June 14, 1997.
Kansas City went ahead in the first on Mike Sweeney's two-run homer, which game him a career-high 12-game hitting streak and 11 straight games with an RBI, tying the team record Frank White set in 1983.
Cleveland got three in the bottom half, then tied it in the sixth on Justice's RBI single off starter Jay Witasick, Jim Thome's RBI grounder, Travis Fryman's two-run triple off Alvin Morman and Borders' run-scoring single.
- Cleveland put right-hander Steve Karsay on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 2 with a strained left oblique muscle and recalled right-hander Jeff Tam from Triple A Buffalo.
- The Royals put right-hander Terry Mathews on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 1, with a strained right rotator cuff and recalled right-hander Don Wengert from Triple-A Omaha.
- The teams combined to make 105 pitches in the first two innings, which took 1 hour.
- The second game made up an April 15 rainout.
- Dye's homer was his third in two games.
- Sweeney has hit .408 (20-for-49) with 15 RBI during his streak.
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