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On the mound, he's years ahead of his

By Tom WithersAssociated Press Published: August 19, 2001 12:00 AM

On the mound, he's years ahead of his time.

Sabathia got his 13th victory and Juan Gonzalez had three RBI but could have had four Saturday as the Cleveland Indians beat the Anaheim Angels 4-2.

Sabathia (13-4) allowed two runs and three hits in 6 2/3 innings before being lifted with one on by manager Charlie Manuel, who was booed when he took the ball from his left-hander.

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"It seems like every time we need a big win, C.C. is standing on the mound and he gives it to us," Manuel said.

The left-hander, 8-2 in 16 starts since June 1, walked two, struck out six and retired 11 straight in one stretch. Sabathia, 21, is the first Indians rookie to win 13 games since Dennis Eckersley in 1975.

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"I haven't been trying to win games," said Sabathia. "I've just been trying to keep us close and give us a chance to win. It's been working out pretty good."

Not only has Sabathia steadied a shaky Cleveland rotation, he's doing it under great expectations as a first-round draft pick who pitched in just 48 minor league games.

"For a guy out of Double-A to come in and pitch for a team and a city that expects to win and then step in and perform like a No. 1 (starter) is incredible," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's hard to believe he's so young with the mound presence he has."

Gonzalez hit a two-run homer off Pat Rapp (5-10) in the first, an RBI single in the third and should have had at least a run-scoring double in the fifth but overran teammate Roberto Alomar near first while watching his fly ball to center.

Marty Cordova made another diving catch in left and Ellis Burks drove in a run as the AL Central-leading Indians won for the fifth time in six games.

Danys Baez pitched 1 1/3 innings. Bob Wickman finished the combined three-hitter for his 21st save in 24 tries.

Cleveland was without Jim Thome, the AL's leading home run hitter, who left the club to attend a relative's funeral in Peoria, Ill.

Tim Salmon hit a two-run homer for the Angels. Anaheim, which has played its way back into wild-card contention, lost for only the fifth time in 17 games.

Gonzalez and Burks each hit RBI singles with two outs in the third inning to give Cleveland a 4-2 lead.

With Kenny Lofton at second and two outs, Alomar drew his second walk and Gonzalez followed with his 110th RBI.

Burks, who still hasn't fully recovered from a broken thumb, then singled in Alomar for just his fourth RBI in 105 at-bats.

"Hopefully I can get it going," Burks said. "I haven't been doing a whole lot lately."

Some bad baserunning cost the Indians a run and perhaps a big fifth inning.

Alomar singled before Gonzalez hit a drive to deep center that Darin Erstad missed, and the ball caromed off the wall toward left.

Alomar, thinking he might need to tag up on a catch, was retreating toward first when Gonzalez passed him as he rounded the bag and was called out.

"That doesn't happen very often," Manuel said. "I know I've seen it before but I can't remember when."

After Sabathia was pulled in the seventh, Bengie Molina hit a sinking liner to left that Cordova snagged with a dive. Cordova made a similar play Wednesday in a win over Minnesota.

In the first, Alomar drew a two-out walk and Gonzalez reached out and

hit a 2-0 pitch from Rapp into the right field seats for a 2-0


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