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Thome-less Tribe Tops Devil Rays

Cleveland regrouped on the field, while Tampa Bay made an attempt to do the same in the clubhouse.

The Indians won their first game since All-Star Jim Thome was lost for at least a month with a broken bone in his right hand, beating the struggling Devil Rays 6-2 on Saturday night.

Charles Nagy pitched three-hit ball for eight innings and Brian Giles hit a solo homer to pace Cleveland, whose bench will get a good test with Thome out.

Jeff Manto and Enrique Wilson had big nights for the second straight game, driving in two of the three runs the Indians scored to take a 3-0 lead in the second.

No. 8 hitter David Bell went 4-for-4 and had one RBI.

"You can't really make up for what Jimmy brings to our team, but we have to do the best we can," Bell said. "I think we have enough good players where we can still win without him."

Down the hall, Tampa Bay held a team meeting with manager Larry Rothschild emerging with harsh words to say about the team's effort in losing for the sixth time in seven games.

"It seemed like as soon as we got behind the game was over. We have to be better than that," Rothschild said, declining to discuss specifics about the meeting.

"There are still 49 games left, and that a heckuva lot of baseball. A lot of things can happen, both good and bad ... It's human nature to have letdowns ... But it's a 162-game schedule, and I expect us to play 162 games. And that's it."

Nagy (10-7) allowed a second-inning home run by Bubba Trammell, a single by Wade Boggs in the third, and Mike DiFelice's triple in the eighth. The right-hander struck out two and walked one.

Mike Jackson pitched a perfect ninth.

Giles, returning to Cleveland's lineup after missing four games because of an infection from a spider bite on his left leg, hit his 14th homer off Bryan Rekar (1-4) for a 4-1 lead in the sixth.

Giles also singled in the Indians' three-run second. Manto and Bell had RBI singles in the inning, and Wilson added a sacrifice fly.

"I told him: `Be sure and go find that scorpion and make him a pet,"' Indians manager Mike Hargrove joked about Giles, who went 2-for-3.

Tampa Bay's second run scored when DiFelice raced home on Sandy Alomar's passed ball in the eighth. The Cleveland catcher had given the Indians a 5-1 lead when he grounded into a force play in the top half of the inning.

Meanwhile, the decision to purchase the contract of Manto from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday continued to look good.

After going 2-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs in his first game back in the majors, Manto filled in at first base for Thome and drove in Cleveland's first run off Rekar.

Bell followed with the first of his four singles to make it 2-0, and Wilson's sacrifice fly ave the No. 9 hitter three RBIs in the past two games.

Naturally, Hargrove was pleased with the production he got from the bottom of the lineup.

"That's what they're there for," said Hargrove, who got his 600th career victory. "They're guys that believe in themselves and believe they can play. We need for them to come through, and today the did."

The three-run third proved to be all the offensive support Nagy needed.

The right-hander retired 14 in a row after giving a two-out single to Boggs in the third. DiFelice broke the string with his triple to right with one out in the eighth.

Omar Vizquel added an RBI single for Cleveland in the ninth.

Notes:

  • Hargrove said Cecil Fielder and Gary Gaetti are among about 25 players the club consider as potential candidates to fill in while Thome is injured. Anaheim has designated Fielder for assignment and St. Louis has done the same with Gaetti
  • Cleveland's Travis Fryman did not play. He has not started five of the Indians' last nine games because of back spasms
  • Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, on assignment from the commissioner's office to discover ways to speed up games, is scheduled to visit Tropicana Field on Sunday
  • Trammell has hit five homers in 21 games since being recalled from Triple-A Durham on July 6.

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