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Indians Bomb Pettitte, Yanks

The first few innings looked like beer league softball in Central Park, not major league baseball at Yankee Stadium.

Manny Ramirez drove in three more runs and the Cleveland Indians overcame another poor performance by Jaret Wright, outscoring the New York Yankees 10-7 Wednesday night.

The matchup between two of the best teams in baseball produced one of the majors' most messy games of the season. The Yankees led 5-4 after the first inning and Cleveland took a 9-7 edge in the third at that point, there had been 15 hits, seven walks and three errors.

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  • "Things were getting a bit hectic out there on both sides," winning pitcher Steve Karsay said.

    The game hit the two-hour mark in the bottom of the fourth. By the time the Yankees batted in the fifth, the Detroit-Boston game at Fenway Park which started just one minute before the Indians and New York began was already in the ninth.

    Omar Vizquel went 4-for-6 with two doubles, scoring three runs and driving in two. Ramirez had seven RBIs as Cleveland won twice in the three-game set, and leads the majors with 67.

    Derek Jeter singled, walked and scored twice, and now has reached base in all 51 New York games. Paul O'Neill made up for two early misplays in right field with a two-run homer and an RBI double for the Yankees.

    "This is the wrong team to get into a slugfest with," O'Neill said. "Sometimes when they get going, you can't stop them."

    Chuck Knoblauch left in the fifth because of bruised ribs, shortly after being hit by Wright's fastball.

    The Yankees are off Thursday, but manager Joe Torre was not sure whether the All-Star second baseman would be ready Friday when they begin an interleague series at home against the New York Mets. Torre said the team might have to call up an infielder from the minors as protection.

    Wright lasted only 3 1-3 innings, giving up seven runs on six hits and four walks. In his previous outing, which came after AL president Gene Budig announced he wanted to talk to the right-hander about inside pitching, a timid Wright was tagged for eight runs in 3 2-3 innings y Boston.

    Budig met with Wright on Tuesday. The pitcher also spoke with Budig's assistant, Hall of Fame ace Bob Gibson, who was notorious for intimidating hitters with head-high fastballs.

    Wright clearly looked more at ease, and was not afraid to throw inside. He drew boos from the crowd of 36,955 by coming close to several hitters in the early innings, and got razzed when he drilled Knoblauch in the fourth.

    Knoblauch stayed in a squat for about a minute after being hit, then walked to first base without incident.

    "It was not a positive outing for Jaret, but there were some things you can build on," manager Mike Hargrove said. "He didn't lose his focus. His last start, he didn't have any.

    "I like that he pitched in. I didn't like that he hit Chuck Knoblauch," he said.

    Wright said the best part of his night was the Indians' win.

    "I was struggling a bit," he said. "I'm still learning. It's a lot of stuff I've never gone through. The mental side is the toughest part of the game."

    Karsay (5-1) won in relief, giving up one hit in 3 2-3 scoreless innings. Mike Jackson put two runners on in the ninth before striking out Chili Davis for his 11th save.

    Andy Pettitte (3-3) took the loss. He was chased in a five-run third.

    "I just never got it going," Pettitte said. "It's frustrating. I had no command."

    O'Neill missed Ramirez's sacrifice fly for a three-base error and Ramirez scored on Travis Fryman's double in a four-run first. O'Neill hit an RBI double and Bernie Williams followed with a two-run double as the Yankees scored five times in the bottom half.

    In the third, Vizquel had a two-run double and scored on a single by Roberto Alomar, who had three hits.

    Ramirez hit RBI singles in the third and seventh.

    Notes: Indians CF Kenny Lofton, hit by a pitch in the right elbow Tuesday, did not start, but entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth. Vizquel took his place in the leadoff spot. ... Jeter has gotten hits in 45 games this season. ... The game took 3 hours, 47 minutes. ... Torre pulled reliever Jeff Nelson as a precaution in the eighth after the pitcher's right elbow stiffened. A bad elbow put Nelson on the DL earlier this season.

    ©1999 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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