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Wells, Jays Edge DH-Less Tribe


Mike Hargrove took the blame. Charles Nagy took the loss.

And David Wells took advantage of a Cleveland lineup depleted by a mix-up that cost the Indians their designated hitter, helping the Toronto Blue Jays to a 4-3 victory Thursday night.

"I was as surprised as anybody," Nagy said after becoming the first Indians pitcher to bat in an AL park since Jim Kern on July 28, 1978. "I had no idea what was going on. I still don't really know what happened."

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  • Nagy (11-6), forced to hit in the seventh spot because of manager Hargrove's mistake, struck out in the second inning and fouled out attempting to bunt in the fourth against Wells.

    "Charlie was tough," Wells said. "He made me throw him a stinking cutter to get him out."

    Hargrove originally listed Manny Ramirez, who leads the majors with 101 RBI, as the DH and had rookie Alex Ramirez in right field.

    But after Toronto batted in the first, Blue Jays manager Jim Fregosi pointed out to plate umpire Rocky Roe that Manny Ramirez had taken his regular place in right field for the top half of the inning.

    The mistaken move -- a DH taking a position in the field -- made the Indians lose their DH and forced the pitcher to bat.

    "I thought Mike was trying to throw me off," Wells said. "He's pretty crafty over there."

    Hargrove, however, said it was a case of his "checks and balances system breaking down."

    "I ripped up the first lineup card and then told (third-base coach) Jeff Newman I had to switch the Ramirezes. Then I went in and made out a new card. Jeff went to (first-base coach) Brian Graham and said the card had to be chnged. So when Brian saw the card on his desk, he didn't know it was a new card and changed it. Back to the wrong one. "

    "That's the first time that has happened to me in 12 years of managing. And it is one time too many."

    Wells (11-6) allowed two runs on five hits over five innings to improve to 10-3 in his career against Cleveland. He also beat the Indians twice in last year's ALCS.

    David Wells gave up two earned runs in five innings for the win.   <b>
    David Wells gave up two earned runs in five innings for the win. (AP)

    Billy Koch, Toronto's fifth pitcher, worked the ninth for his 17th save as Cleveland lost for the sixth time in its last seven games.

    Nagy retired the Blue Jays on four pitches in the first inning, then yielded three runs on four hits in the second.

    Carlos Delgado and Tony Fernandez each singled and Darrin Fletcher doubled home a run. Tony Batista had an RBI grounder and Homer Bush's two-out single made it 3-0.

    Richie Sexson hit his 16th homer on Wells' first pitch of the fourth to make it 3-1.

    Cleveland got within 3-2 in the fifth when Omar Vizquel drew a one-out walk, stole second and scored on Roberto Alomar's bloop single.

    A sacrifice fly by Fletcher in the sixth gave Toronto a 4-2 lead. Einar Diaz's RBI single off reliever Paul Spoljaric in the bottom half made it 4-3.

    Notes

    • Jaret Wright was put on the Indians' 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Monday, with soreness behind his right shoulder. He joins teammates Sandy Alomar, Travis Fryman, Steve Karsay, Wil Cordero and Tom Martin on the DL.
    • Tom Candiotti will start in Wright's spot Friday night in New York. Dwight Gooden, the former Yankees and Mets star, had been listed as possibly making his first start as an opponent in New York, but Hargrove said he wante to use the knuckleballer Candiotti instead.
    • Toronto's Shawn Green extended his career-high hitting streak to 20 games with a sixth-inning double.
    • Vizquel singled and drew two walks off Wells and is now hitting .121 (4-for-33) in his career against the left-hander.

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

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