Indians manage just seven hits, seek series split today

Associated Press Published:

Saberhagen, a two-time Cy Young Award winner who missed the entire 1996 season due to shoulder surgery, pitched six shutout innings on Sunday to lead the Boston Red Sox over the Cleveland Indians 2-0.

"I feel a lot better than last year or the year before," Saberhagen said. "It was nice to go out there and not only get the win, but for the team to win. ... I haven't surprised myself, but I think I've surprised a lot of other people."

Saberhagen (3-0) pitched just six games last year, struggling to a 0-1 record and a 6.58 ERA. He struck out four and walked one against Cleveland, helping Boston improve to 8-1 at Fenway Park this year. He has won three straight decisions for the first time since June 18-28, 1995.

Cleveland, who entered the game with the second best record in baseball, managed just seven hits against Red Sox pitchers.

"Saberhagen's velocity surprised a lot of us," said Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove. "We knew he was throwing well, but didn't know his velocity was as good as it was. We helped him out by swinging at bad pitches."

Jim Corsi pitched two scoreless innings in relief and Tom Gordon pitched the ninth for his fourth save in five chances. He allowed a leadoff double in the ninth to Sandy Alomar, who had been in an 0-for-23 slump.

Darren Bragg had a career-high four hits for Boston, going 4-for-4.

Dave Burba (2-2) allowed two runs and nine hits in seven innings. Cleveland, which stranded nine runners, lost for just the third time in 10 road games this year. The top four hitters in the Indians' batting order were 1-for-15.

"I battled through the whole game," said Burba. "I tried to keep pace with Bret, but he outpitched me. That's baseball."

Boston went ahead in the fifth after Nomar Garciaparra led off with a triple that got past Manny Ramirez in right. John Valentin walked, Mo Vaughn struck out and Jim Leyritz hit a sacrifice fly.

Bragg doubled leading off the sixth, took third on Darren Lewis' groundout and scored on Mark Lemke's sacrifice fly.

"There were some question marks in the beginning of the season, but our pitching staff top to bottom has done very well," said Vaughn. "Cleveland has a strong lineup, but Bret spotted his fastball _ 93 miles per hour, too. That's three good starts for him and that's as encouraging for us as it is for him."

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