INDIANS 15, Mariners 14, 11 innings

Monday, August 6th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(CLEVELAND) - The Cleveland Indians tied a major league record and became the first team in 76 years to overcome a 12-run deficit to win, defeating the Seattle Mariners 15-14 in 11 innings Sunday night.

Jolbert Cabrera's broken-bat, one-out single in the 11th, the game's 40th hit, scored Kenny Lofton from second with the winning run to end the 4-hour, 11-minute contest.

Lofton slid headfirst into home plate ahead of left fielder Mark McLemore's throw and jumped into the waiting arms of Eddie Taubensee as the Indians poured onto the field.

More than 20,000 stayed despite watching the Indians fall behind 12-0 after three innings. The fans refused to leave as the stadium speakers blasted Kiss' ``Rock and Roll All Night.''

The Indians still trailed 14-2 when they batted in the seventh.

Cleveland scored two runs in the fourth, three in the seventh, four in the eighth and five in the ninth, after being down to their last strike three times, to become just the third team to make up 12 runs in a game and win.

The only other teams to do it were the 1911 Chicago White Sox and the 1925 Philadelphia Athletics, who scored 13 runs in the eighth to beat Cleveland 17-15.

John Rocker (3-4), Cleveland's fifth pitcher, struck out the side in the 11th as the Indians snapped a three-game losing streak and moved within one-half game of first-place Minnesota in the AL Central.

Jim Thome hit two homers, and Russell Branyan and Marty Cordova also homered for the Indians.

Lofton singled with one out in the 11th off Jose Paniagua (3-3), and Omar Vizquel singled to right.

Cabrera's bat shattered as his hit dropped into left field. Third-base coach Joel Skinner waved home Lofton, who slid across the plate.

The Indians had 23 hits, with Lofton, Vizquel and Cordova recording four apiece.

Vizquel's three-run triple completed Cleveland's five-run ninth and capped the comeback.

Most of the Indians starters, including Roberto Alomar, Juan Gonzalez, Ellis Burks and Travis Fryman, were gone and many fans headed home by the time the Mariners opened a 14-2 lead in the fifth.

Seattle manager Lou Piniella gave Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez and John Olerud an early rest, too.

Cleveland's rally began in the seventh when Branyan led off with his 15th homer, a shot off starter Aaron Sele.

The Indians closed to 14-5 later in the inning on a two-run single by Cabrera off John Halama.

The Indians scored four more in the eighth, with Thome's second homer - his AL-leading 36th - getting them rolling. After Branyan was hit by Halama, Cordova homered to bring Cleveland within six.

Piniella lifted Halama, but Norm Charlton couldn't stop the Indians, either, and Vizquel's RBI double made it 14-9.

Still, the Indians were down by five and had a runner on with two outs in the ninth when Cordova doubled, and Piniella turned to Jeff Nelson.

Wil Cordero walked to load the bases, and Einar Diaz went to a full count before hitting a two-run single to make it 14-11. Kazuhiro Sasaki, who came in with 35 saves, gave up a single to Lofton, loading the bases for Vizquel.

Vizquel also worked the count full before ripping his triple just inside the bag at first, scoring all three runners.

Suzuki and Mike Cameron had three RBIs apiece as the Mariners appeared to be sailing to their 81st win.