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Wednesday June 27, 2001
Indians 5 @ Yankees 15

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NEW YORK (AP) -- Tino Martinez provided just what he and Mike Mussina needed.

Martinez went 4-for-5 with a homer and five RBI to give Mussina some rare run support as the New York Yankees beat the Cleveland Indians 15-5 Wednesday.

The Yankees scored one more run in this game than they had in Mussina's previous six starts. Mussina (8-7), signed to an $88.5 million, six-year contract in the offseason, had been averaging only 3.6 runs of support coming in.

"They didn't have to score all 15 in one game," Mussina said. "Split them up into two games. Seven and eight would be good."

Martinez, in a 19-for-121 rut entering the game, hit a two-run double in the first, an RBI single in the second, a two-run homer in the fourth, and doubled in the fifth. He also scored three runs.

But he was testy after the game, angry about recent questions regarding his status in New York. Martinez's contract is up at the end of the year and the Yankees appear ready to turn first base over to top prospect Nick Johnson.

There have also been reports that New York is interested in Oakland first baseman Jason Giambi, which would cut into Martinez's playing time.

"If the Yankees don't want me, if they want to get rid of me, then I don't want to be here anymore," said Martinez, who can veto any trade. "We could work something out."

Martinez appears to be breaking out of his slump as he tries to silence his critics. He hit a go-ahead pinch-hit homer to help the Yankees beat Cleveland 8-7 Monday and came up big again in the series finale.

"I was never concerned about it," Martinez said of his playing time. "I think it was a stupid question."

Shane Spencer went 4-for-5 with a homer and four RBI, Derek Jeter had three hits, and Paul O'Neill hit a two-run double.

C.C. Sabathia (7-3) was done in by his wildness -- both to the plate and first base -- as Cleveland was hurt by another poor performance by a starting pitcher.

The three batters Sabathia walked all scored and his wild throw to first on Chuck Knoblauch's sacrifice led to two unearned runs in the second.

Sabathia allowed six runs -- four earned -- and three hits in one-plus inning. Cleveland starters are 9-12 with a 6.35 ERA in their past 38 games, averaging only 4.9 innings per start.

"It went so quick, it was over before it got started," Sabathia said.

The wear on the bullpen showed as manager Charlie Manuel left Steve Woodard in to get pounded for six runs and 10 hits in 3 2/3 innings.

The Yankees jumped out to a 6-0 lead for the second time in the three games. But the Indians nearly erased that deficit again, getting a two-run homer by Kenny Lofton in the third and a two-run single by Einar Diaz in the fourth. Cleveland scored seven runs in the sixth inning Monday before losing on Martinez's homer.

But the Yankees answered with five in the bottom half of the fourth, highlighted by Martinez's 11th homer.

"I knew we were in for a long day," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I'm pleased we kept scoring after that."

New York added three in the fifth, helped by an embarrassing double-error by left fielder Russell Branyan and center fielder Lofton. Spencer singled to left-center with the bases loaded and Branyan couldn't pick up the ball, letting Spencer advance to second. Lofton then also failed to pick it up, allowing Jorge Posada to score from first on the second error.

"It's tough to watch anytime you have games like that," Manuel said. "You've got to sit and watch it. I just can't get up and run away."

Mussina wasn't sharp but didn't need to be as the six runs in the first two innings were more than he had gotten in 12 of his first 15 starts.

"There were some struggles," said Mussina, who allowed five runs -- four earned -- and seven hits in six innings. "But I'd rather struggle on a day when we score 15 runs than when we score two or three. Fortunately, that's what happened today."

Game notes
Yankees OF Bernie Williams has reached base in 32 straight games, matching his career high. ... O'Neill was dropped to seventh in the lineup for the first time since April 15, 1997. ... Indians OF Juan Gonzalez missed the game with a strained right knee and is day to day. ... The Indians committed four errors, giving them 33 in the past 30 games. Cleveland set an AL record with only 72 errors last season. ... Diaz moved from catcher to second base in the seventh, making his first career appearance at second.