SPORTS

By Tom Withers Associated Press Published:

Colon used his 99-mph fastball to overpower Detroit for 12 strikeouts in seven innings and Sandy Alomar hit a three-run homer Wednesday night, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 7-2 win over the Tigers.

Colon (4-1) allowed just six hits _ five singles _ and made only one mistake, giving up a solo homer to Juan Gonzalez in the second. But after that, the right-hander was little match for the Tigers.

Making his second start since returning from the disabled list, Colon walked two and got out of jams in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings with big strikeouts.

"It's hard to imagine a kid throwing 97, 98 mph can reach back for a little extra," Indians acting manager Grady Little said. "But he seems to do that when he gets in a jam."

It was probably Little's last game managing the Indians. Manager Charlie Manuel was expected to return for tonight's game against Detroit, less than two weeks after colon surgery.

"That's the plan," Little said.

Colon recorded his fourth career double-digit strikeout game, and first since June 21, 1998, when he struck out 10 New York Yankees.

Colon came into training camp overweight and then pulled a muscle in his rib cage in an April 15 start. He went on the 15-day disabled list, and while he was out Colon lost some weight and got into better shape. The time away also helped his mental condition, he said.

The Tigers got a runner to third in the fourth, but Colon struck out the side.

In the fifth, he escaped a two-on, one-out mess by striking out two. Then, in the seventh, Detroit had runners at first and third when Colon fanned Brad Ausmus for the third time.

"He stuffed it right at us," Detroit manager Phil Garner said. "He was coming at 92, 94 mph but when somebody got into scoring position, he got it up to 98. That's some serious giddy up, and that's impressive. He didn't toy with us. He went right at us."

Travis Fryman, David Justice and Alex Ramirez added solo homers off C.J. Nitkowski (2-7) for the Indians, 5-1 on their 10-game homestand and fattening their record against AL Central teams.

Bobby Higginson, returning from his five-game suspension for his part in Detroit's brawl with Chicago earlier this season, struck out three times against Colon.

"He just blew it by me," Higginson said. "Tomorrow whoever it is out there will be 10 mph slower, so maybe I'll have a better chance."

Colon isn't all heat, however. He had three pitches working against the Tigers, who didn't seem to know what was coming.

"What people don't understand," Colon said through an interpreter, "is hitters are no longer sitting on my fastball. Now they're guessing breaking ball and I can come back with my fastball and get some strikeouts."

With the Indians leading 4-1 in the sixth, Alomar connected for his second homer in two days, a three-run shot off Masao Kida.

Richie Sexson singled, Ramirez doubled and Alomar lined an 0-1 pitch into the left-field terrace for his second homer.

Alomar was playing in just his 17th game this season. He was on the disabled list with a pulled hamstring, and before the game was sensitive when asked questions about sharing the catching duties with backup Einar Diaz, who has played well this season.

Fryman, who homered and drove in four runs on Tuesday night, continued to pound Tigers pitching by hitting a homer off Nitkowski to open the second that tied it 1-1.

Justice made it 2-1 in the third with his ninth homer and sixth in 10 games.

Ramirez's first homer of the year, 436-foot shot in the fourth upped Cleveland's lead to 4-1.

Notes: Cleveland is 54-17 against the Tigers since 1994, including a 32-7 mark at Jacobs Field. ... The four homers by the Indians were a season high. ... Roberto Alomar and Omar Vizquel received their 1999 Gold Gloves before the game. Alomar's eighth tied him with Bill Mazeroski and Frank White for the second most for a second baseman. Ryne Sandberg won nine with the Cubs. Vizquel has won seven straight Gold Gloves. Only Mark Belanger (8), Luis Aparicio (9) and Ozzie Smith (13) have more. ... Sandy Alomar's triple in the second inning was the seventh of his career and fourth since 1994.

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