Florie, making his first start after 24 relief

Associated Press Published:

Florie, making his first start after 24 relief appearances, gave up just two runs in 5 2/3 innings Monday night against powerful Cleveland.

But Jaret Wright shut down the Tigers, pitching a three-hitter for his first career shutout as the Indians beat Detroit 2-0.

Florie took Tim Worrell's turn in the Tigers' rotation as manager Buddy Bell continued his search for some consistent starters behind Justin Thompson and Brian Moehler.

"For the first time out, a performance like that is almost more than you can hope for," Bell said of Florie. "To hold a club like that to two runs, that's a positive sign."

Wright (4-3) helped the Indians continue their mastery of the Tigers. Cleveland is 3-0 against the Tigers this year and 39-11 since the start of the 1994 season.

The 22-year-old right-hander won his third straight decision, striking out seven and walking three. He agreed it was the best performance of his brief big-league career.

"I'd say yes," Wright said. "It's my first complete game, my first complete shutout game, and it feels good. I think I'm throwing the ball relatively well right now, and hopefully we can just go from there."

The only hits Wright allowed were a bloop single to Tony Clark in the second, a fifth-inning double by Frank Catalanotto and Paul Bako's bad-hop single in the eighth.

"Twenty-two years old and he has an arm like that and he's a competitor like that," Bell said. "He just flat-out pitched good; he beat us.

"Losses are always tough to take, but on a night like tonight there's not much you can do."

Wright is 3-0 with a 1.47 ERA in his last four starts. The Indians are 9-3 in his 12 starts this year.

"He's kept the ball down and throws strikes and stays ahead of the hitters," Indians manager Mike Hargrove said. "He threw first-pitch strikes to just about everybody."

Wright called that the key to his success.

"A first-pitch strike is the most important pitch in baseball," Wright said. "You can just do a lot more if you throw the first pitch for a strike."

Florie (3-1) gave up five hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

"I thought I pitched pretty well," Florie said. "Two runs against that team is something to build on."

His only regret was an 0-2 slider that Manny Ramirez lined into the right-field upper deck for his 10th home run, giving the Indians a 2-0 lead in the sixth.

"I'm more mad about that 0-2 pitch than anything else," Florie said. 'Usually if I miss I'm down, but that was a hanging slider. I tried to bury it and it just sort of spun up there."

Ramirez scored Cleveland's other run when he hit a leadoff triple in the fourth and scored on Mark Whiten's broken-bat grounder.

The Indians have won 13 of their last 17 games and eight of nine on the road. Their starting pitching has been the key.

"Our starting pitchers have really been solid, especially in the last week," Cleveland's Travis Fryman said.

Fryman was 0-for-4 in his first game at Tiger Stadium since he was traded from Detroit to Arizona and then Cleveland during the offseason.

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