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Manny, Tribe Thump Jays


Manny Ramirez is on a mission to bring a World Series to Cleveland.

Ramirez hit a three-run homer to increase his RBIs total to an team-record 164, and the Cleveland Indians routed the Toronto Blue Jays 9-2 Thursday night.

"None of this means anything if you don't win in the playoffs," Ramirez said. "Winning the World Series, that is my only goal."

At 97-62, Cleveland maintained the best record in the American League going into the final weekend of the season, one game ahead of the New York Yankees (96-63) and two games ahead of Texas (95-64).

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Game Summary

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  • "We want the home-field advantage in the playoffs," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "That, and getting people ready for the postseason, are our goals now."

    Ramirez's 43rd homer, a 441-foot drive to left off John Bale in the sixth inning, broke the previous team record of 162 RBIs, by Hal Trosky in 1936.

    "I never thought I would put these numbers up," Ramirez said. "I got great players in front of me. Give them the credit. If I think about setting records, then it isn't going to happen. For me, if I hit 25 homers and 100 RBIs, then I am happy."

    Ramirez received three standing ovations from Cleveland's 370th consecutive sellout crowd: one when he reached the dugout, another to summon him back out for a second curtain call, and a third when he took his position in right field in the seventh.

    "That was pretty neat for them to do that for me," Ramirez said. "The fans really made me feel proud."

    The first major leaguer to reach 160 RBIs since Boston's Jimmie Foxx had 175 in 1938, Ramirez tied Babe Ruth's 1927 total for the 12th-most in one season.

    "I never heard of some of those guys," Ramirez said. "I don't knw them, but I am proud to be mentioned around those guys."

    Richie Sexson hit a bases-loaded triple in the fifth inning off Paul Spoljaric (2-2) after Ramirez was intentionally walked, helping Bartolo Colon (18-5) beat Toronto for the second time in six days.

    With his second triple of the game and seventh this season, Sexson gave Cleveland a 5-0 lead. Wil Cordero followed with an RBI single.

    "I'm befuddled by the whole thing and upset with walking guys before Sexson," Spoljaric said. "Anytime you put guys on base you are asking for trouble."

    Colon won for the eighth time in nine decisions, allowing six hits in seven shutout innings.

    "Bartolo is a fine pitcher," Toronto manager Jim Fregosi said. "He is close to being a number one guy. He's got the stuff. He just needs the experience."

    Roberto Alomar hit an RBI groundout in the first and Cordero homered in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

    Toronto got its runs when Ricardo Rincon walked Pat Borders and Willis Otanez with the bases loaded in the eighth.

    Notes

  • Since June 15, 1998, Ramirez has 270 RBIs in 238 games.
  • Hargrove said his postseason pitching rotation will be Colon, Charles Nagy, Dave Burba and Jaret Wright.
  • Colon, Nagy and Burba have a combined 50-24 record, giving the Indians three 15-game winners in a season for the first time since Early Wynn, Bob Lemon and Herb Score in 1956.
  • Colon became Cleveland's first 18-game winner since Greg Swindell went 18-14 in 1988.
  • Bale and Gary Glover pitched for Toronto and made their big league debuts.
  • The Blue Jays are 29-14 in their last 43 road games.
  • Sexson has 115 RBIs on 121 hits.
  • Alomar needs two runs to tie the team record of 140 set by Earl Averill in 1931.

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

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