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Lofton Helps Tribe Run Past O's

Indians' Keny Lofton watches his game-winning home run against the Orioles.
AP
Kenny Lofton tied a major league record for scoring runs in consecutive games, stole a career-high five bases and hit a game-winning home run for the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.

Can you tell his left shoulder feels better?

Lofton's solo homer in the 13th inning gave the Indians a 12-11 win over the Baltimore Orioles.

It also gave Lofton his fourth run of the day after he had already tied a major league record by scoring in his 18th straight game. Red Rolfe set the run-scoring streak record in 1939 for the New York Yankees.

Lofton's day was even more remarkable considering that when spring training began, the Indians weren't sure the center fielder would return from a shoulder injury until the All-Star break.

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Game Summary

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  • Lofton dislocated his left shoulder sliding headfirst into first base during the AL playoffs against Boston last year and had surgery in the offseason.

    He returned for opening day a recovery considered a medical miracle by the Indians but hasn't been feeling himself until lately. Since Aug. 8, he's gone 42-of-102.

    "The shoulder's a big part of it," Lofton said. "I'm feeling a little bit more confident with my arm. It doesn't hurt as much as it used to."

    Lofton singled and stole second base the first three times he came to bat and wound up scoring each time. He tied a club record for stolen bases in a game set twice by Alex Cole on May 3, 1992, and Aug. 1, 1990.

    Mike Trombley (4-5), who pitched 3 1-3 innings, gave up Lofton's 13th homer, a shot into the right-field bullpen with one out in the 13th.

    Cameron Cairncross (1-0) got two outs for his first career win in his sixth appearance. Cairncross said when he saw Lofton's homer land in the bullpen

    "I didn't knw what to do jump, cry, sit down, stand up. It was magic, man," he said.

    Chris Richard drove in six runs and hit two homers for Baltimore. His two-run shot to right-center field off reliever Paul Shuey tied the game at 11 in the seventh inning, capping a four-run rally which began with two outs.

    Albert Belle reached on what seemed like a playable ball to Travis Fryman, then moved to third on Jeff Conine's double. Cal Ripken, playing in his second game since coming off the disabled list with back problems, doubled to left field to cut the Indians' lead to 11-9. Richard followed with his seventh homer.

    Richard earlier hit a three-run homer and Brook Fordyce followed with a solo shot in Baltimore's five-run fourth inning.

    "For seven innings there were 22 runs scored and all of a sudden for the next six nobody could get a sniff," Orioles manager Mike Hargrove said.

    It was fitting that Lofton finally hit the game-winner after more than five hours of baseball. He seemed to be on base all day.

    "Kenny was superhuman," teammate Sandy Alomar said.

    Lofton triggered Cleveland's four-run third by leading off the inning with a single off Orioles starter Jay Spurgeon. Lofton stole second and third and scored on Fordyce's throwing error.

    In the fourth inning, Lofton bunted his way on after Alomar reached second on a grounder that went through second baseman Jerry Hairston's legs and into the outfield for a two-base error. After Lofton stole second, Omar Vizquel hit a two-run single.

    Roberto Alomar's single moved Vizquel to third. Baltimore reliever Jason Johnson hit Manny Ramirez to load the bases and then Jim Thome was hit by a pitch to send Vizquel home and give Cleveland an 8-7 lead.

    Thome, who had a season-high five RBIs, hit two-run double to highlight a three-run sixth that put Cleveland ahead 11-7.

    Lofton singled in the first inning, stole second base and eventually scored on Thome's single to right field.

    Baltimore answered with two runs in the second inning. Belle walked to lead off the inning and scored on Richard's triple. Fordyce doubled down the third-base line to drive home Richard.

    But in the end, it was Lofton's day not Richard's.

    "I don't make any excuses, but I couldn't really finish my swing a lot of times because of the pain in my shoulder," Lofton said. "Now I can finish my swing and it feels good."

    Notes

  • Ripken went 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. It was his second appearance since June 28, when his back problems flared up again. Ripken also played Friday, when he went 1-for-3.
  • The Orioles had two errors, bringing their season total to 103, the team's most since 119 in 1988.
  • Sandy Alomar left the game after the seventh inning with leg cramps. He said later that he fine.
  • Cleveland pitcher Bartolo Colon, who left Saturday's game with tightness in his shoulder, had an MRI on Sunday. The team said his shoulder is inflamed and a decision will be made by Tuesday on his next start
  • Ramirez singled in the 10th, extending his 18-game hitting streak.

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