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Indians Win, Justice Prevails

David Justice followed his late decision to play with some last-inning heroics.

Justice, who missed the last seven games with a sore left wrist, belted a tiebreaking two-run homer in the ninth inning Monday night that lifted the Cleveland Indians to a 7-5 win over the Boston Red Sox.

"I knew after I had batting practice," Justice said of his decision to play. "I really didn't feel my wrist in the game. I'll get some ice on it and take it day-to-day."

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Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove said it was his Justice's choice to rejoin the lineup.

"It was apparent that David's wrist was getting better (Sunday)," Hargrove said. "It was his call with batting practice."

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Game Summary

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  • Justice, who said Sunday that he didn't feel he'd be ready to play in the series opener with the Red Sox on Monday, went 2-for-4.

    "David's not a star player by accident," Hargrove said. "Every time he swings the bat there's a chance for something magical to happen. It did tonight."

    The Indians, who posted just their second win in seven games against Boston, pulled out the victory despite blowing a five-run lead.

    It was Cleveland's sixth win in seven games.

    With the score tied 5-5 in the ninth, Jim Thome walked against Rich Garces (0-1). After Garces retired Richie Sexson on a fly out, Mark Guthrie entered and Justice belted a shot over the Red Sox bullpen in right. It was the first run Garces allowed after eight scoreless appearances over 13 innings since being recalled from Pwtucket on July 10.

    "He hit a breaking ball so tip your cap to the hitter," Boston manager Jimy Williams said. "He won the battle tonight, but to me we had the right guy in there."

    Guthrie, who has allowed eight runs in his last four appearances, was extremely upset with his recent performances.

    "You guys can sit here all night and try to think of adjectives for how bad I am," he said. "But you won't think of one bad enough."

    Nomar Garciaparra went 3-for-3 with a solo homer for Boston, raising his average to a league-leading .362.

    The Red Sox, winners in two of three games this past weekend against the Yankees, lost for just the second time in six games.

    Steve Karsay (8-1) worked two innings of scoreless relief for the win. Mike Jackson pitched a perfect ninth for his 23rd save.

    Consecutive home runs by Thome and Sexson helped Cleveland jump to a 5-0 lead in the first inning before Boston rallied to tie it 5-5 in the fourth.

    Boston starter Pat Rapp walked Omar Vizquel to open the game and Jacob Cruz tripled. Cruz scored on Roberto Alomar's grounder. Thome then hit his 18th homer into the center-field seats after Manny Ramirez's single. Two pitches later, Sexson hit a drive into the left-field screen for his 22nd homer.

    Garciaparra had an RBI single and Troy O'Leary added a two-run triple as the Red Sox cut it to 5-3 in the bottom of the first.

    Garciaparra hit a solo homer, his 18th, in the third and John Valentin's RBI single tied it 5-5 in the fifth.

    Cleveland starter Dwight Gooden left the game in the third with right shoulder stiffness. Gooden, making just his second start after being demoted to the bullpen for three weeks, allowed four runs and six hits in 2 2-3 innings.

    Hargrove said that Gooden likely will miss his next start.

    Rapp gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings.

    Boston entered the game 22-8 against the AL's elite Cleveland, New York, Texas and Toronto.


  • Both teams were issued arnings after Boston's Trot Nixon was hit by a pitch in the fourth. Sexson was hit in the top of the inning. In April, the teams had a bench-clearing brawl.
  • Garciaparra, who extended his hitting streak to 11 games, went 2-for-2 against Gooden and raised his career mark to 9-for-16 with three homers.
  • Indians centerfielder Kenny Lofton, day-to-day with a strained right hamstring, missed his fifth consecutive game.
  • Boston's Pedro Martinez and Cleveland's Jaret Wright are both scheduled to come off the DL and start Tuesday.

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