The Pirates certainly can't hit like the Indians. They didn't need to Tuesday night, beating Cleveland 7-4 while the defending AL champs kept getting lost on the bases.
Pittsburgh, on the other hand, dazzled the Indians with pretty hit-and-runs and aggressive baserunning. This came one night after they were overpowered in a four-hit shutout by Bartolo Colon.
"That's what NL ball's all about," Indians starter Dwight Gooden said. "They were really aggressive."
Gooden knows a little something about "baseball like it ought to be." This was the New York Mets' slogan when they emerged as an NL power early in Gooden's career.
Gooden pitched 5 2/3 innings on the same night Hideo Nomo debuted for the Mets wearing Dr. K's old No. 16.
"That's their choice," said Gooden, who allowed three runs and seven hits with five strikeouts and one walk. "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't surprised. I've moved on from that era."
Jon Lieber pitcher 6 2/3 strong innings, and Kevin Young hit his 13th homer, off Gooden in the third. But the game was decided in the late innings, when Cleveland's Kenny Lofton made one of two costly baserunning blunders and a throwing error in centerfield.
Jim Thome homered for the second straight day, his 17th, to extend his career-best hitting streak to 15 games for Cleveland.
With the game tied 3-3 and one out in the fifth, Lofton made an unusual play that would have drawn an unsportsmanlike flag in a Browns-Steelers game.
David Bell led off with a single, and Shawon Dunston struck out. Lofton hit a high chopper in front of the plate and refused to run. Catcher Jason Kendall fielded the ball and tried to tag Lofton, who slapped the ball out of his bare hand.
Lofton was called out on interference, and Bell was ordered back to first base. Omar Vizquel popped out to end the inning.
"We exchanged a couple of words and it was over," Kendall said. "I thought it was a weak play and I told him that."
Indians manager Mike Hargrove said it was "one of those things that the second he did it, he knew he shouldn't have done it."
Said Lofton, "Don't make a big deal out of nothing. I thought the ball was foul."
The Pirates snapped a four-game road losing streak with their first regular season win at Jacobs Field. It was only their fourth road victory in 15 games.
Cleveland's other misadventure on the bases came in the seventh. Travis Fryman singled and Bell to start the inning, and Dunston grounded to first baseman Young and was tagged out. Bell ran to third, but Fryman stayed there. Young ran across the diamond to tag him out for an unassisted double play.
"As a matter of fact, the crowd gave it away," Young said. "I heard the crowd and realized it was Bell, so I went over and tagged him."
Ricardo Rincon struck out Lofton to end the seventh. He pitched 2 1-3 and got his sixth save despite allowing Sandy Alomar's fourth homer in the ninth. Lieber (4-7) allowed three runs and eight hits, walking two and striking three.
Lofton had an RBI single and made a sliding catch on Lou Collier's liner in the ninth. But his throwing error in the seventh led to two Pirates runs.
Al Martin walked, and Jose Mesa relieved Alvin Morman (0-1) to face Kendall, who singled to center. Lofton's throw to third bounced past Fryman and Mesa, who was backing up. Martin scored, and Kendall went to third.
Kendall scored on Mark Smith's single before Mesa got out of the inning.
Notes: Cleveland designated left-hander Rick Krivda for assignment to make room for outfielder Matt Luke, claimed on waivers from the Dodgers. Krivda was 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in 11 games (one start). The Indians would claim him if he cleared waivers, which is unexpected. ... Thome's two-run homer was his seventh in 12 games. He is batting .3 with seven homers and 18 RBIs during his hitting streak. ... The Pirates bullpen hadn't given up a run in 27 1-3 innings before Alomar's ninth-inning homer.