SPORTS

By R.B. Fallstrom Associated Press Published:

Cleveland hitters struck out a team-record 16 times, but the Indians used Sandy Alomar Jr.'s tiebreaking single in the eighth inning Sunday to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2.

Rick Ankiel matched his career high with 11 strikeouts in only five innings.

"He was throwing cheese, and he had a nasty breaking ball, too," said Alomar, who struck out twice against Ankiel.

Matt Morris (0-1) fanned four in three innings and Dave Veres struck out one in the ninth.

But the Indians got to Morris, making only his second appearance of the season, with two outs in the eighth when Travis Fryman walked, David Justice doubled on a 3-0 pitch and Alomar singled off the glove of third baseman Craig Paquette.

"I was just trying to hit the ball," Alomar said. "I felt like I had a hole in my bat."

Justice also tried to score when the ball rolled into the outfield but was thrown out at the plate on a close play when catcher Mike Matheny blocked the plate.

The Indians struck out 15 times at Seattle on Aug. 23, 1999, their previous high.

Tom Martin (1-0) got the last out in the seventh, Steve Reed worked the eighth and Steve Karsay finished for his 12th save in 14 chances as the Indians took two of three in the interleague series.

The 20-year-old Ankiel, who walked none, also had 11 strikeouts May 25 against Florida. He has 46 strikeouts in 38 1/3 innings overall.

"I think my results were a little better than the way I pitched," Ankiel said. "I missed a bunch of spots."

He was unimpressed with his strikeout total.

"That just goes to show you that strikeouts don't matter," he said.

Ankiel's agent, Steve Boras, criticized the Cardinals last week for leaving him in for high pitch counts at a tender age. Manager Tony La Russa, who talked to Boras earlier Sunday, removed Ankiel this time after 98 pitches.

"That's very tired material," La Russa said. "Most people will never hear that there isn't anything behind that."

Jim Edmonds hit his 17th home run and Eric Davis had an RBI single for the Cardinals. Richie Sexson and Kenny Lofton homered for the Indians.

Mark McGwire had a quiet game, getting hit by a pitch in the first and walking twice, once intentionally. He also struck out twice.

The Indians loaded the bases to start the game on singles by Lofton, Enrique Wilson and Fryman, but Ankiel escaped without damage. He struck out Justice and Sandy Alomar, and Lofton was an easy out at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch that missed the mark by so much it deflected off the backstop and rolled to catcher Mike Matheny.

Sexson hit his ninth homer, and second of the series, to lead off the second before Ankiel struck out the side. Lofton became the first left-handed batter to homer off Ankiel in 96 1/3 innings, going to the opposite field to start the third.

The Indians' Jim Brower also had a career high with six strikeouts, although he's only made four starts. In five innings, he allowed two runs on four hits with four walks.

"My fastball finally came around," Brower said. "My first three innings, I didn't know where it was going."

Notes: The teams combined for 26 strikeouts Sunday after 25 on Saturday. ... Edmonds' homer ended a three-game drought for the Cardinals, their longest of the season. ... There have been 96 homers in 30 games at Busch Stadium, with the Cardinals outhomering the opposition 57-41. The Indians outhomered the Cardinals, who lead the majors with 101 homers, 5-1 in the series. ... Edmonds has reached base safely in 50 of 53 starts. ... The Indians are the only AL team that has not been shut out. ... Cardinals outfielder Ray Lankford, who left Saturday's game with a hamstring injury after eight innings, did not play. ... Fernando Vina was 0-for-5 and is in a 6-for-36 slump. ... The Cardinals fell to second place in the NL Central, a half-game behind Cincinnati. They had only been out of first for one day, May 12, before Sunday.

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