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After 10-game win streak, Tribe on 3-game slide

4/19/2002

CHICAGO -- Kenny Lofton delivered a message to the Cleveland
Indians: Look what you gave up.

Lofton tormented his old team with his speed and this time with
his power, and Todd Ritchie got his first Chicago win as the White
Sox beat the Indians 7-1 Thursday night to complete a three-game
sweep.

"I was playing against my old team for the first time, but
after the first at-bat, it's just another game," a nonchalant
Lofton said after going 2-for-4 with his first White Sox homer.

Lofton finished the three-game set 6-for-14 with six runs
scored.

"He's the guy I've been most impressed with. He does so many
things. He just disrupts the other team so much," said Ritchie,
acquired in the offseason from Pittsburgh.

"You can't say enough about him, his effort, his intensity.
He's been simply amazing," Chicago manager Jerry Manuel said.

The Indians, who came to Chicago riding a 10-game winning
streak, were outscored 24-8 in the series. Chicago has won eight of nine
with a healthy Lofton patrolling center and running the bases with
abandon, just like in his peak with the Indians.

Lofton has a nine-game hitting streak and has reached base
safely in all 15 of Chicago's games.

"There is nothing wrong with anything he does. He's the perfect
leadoff hitter," said Chicago's Paul Konerko, who also homered off
Bartolo Colon (3-1).

Lofton, who spent nine years with the Indians, batted a
career-low .261 last season. The White Sox signed him as a free
agent just before spring training.

"Kenny's off to a nice start and after that the whole lineup
complements each other," Cleveland's Jim Thome said. "We were
impressed with their offense. They got momentum early the whole
series. That's what this game is about."

Ritchie (1-1) allowed six hits and one run in seven innings, for
his first AL victory since he was a reliever with the Twins in
1997.

Konerko hit a solo homer in the second and Lofton led off the
third with a long drive over the fence in right.

Lofton also drove in Chicago's first of three runs in the
seventh with a fielder's choice grounder -- beating a relay on a
double play grounder -- and then raced from first to third when
Colon made a wild pickoff throw for his second error of the inning.

Ray Durham walked before Frank Thomas greeted reliever David
Riske with a two-run double to make it 7-1.

"They just outplayed us. It's still too early to tell if
they're better than us," Indians manager Charlie Manuel said. The
teams play four games at Jacobs Field next week.

Lofton's homer to right off Colon made it 2-0. Durham followed
with a single, Thomas doubled, Magglio Ordonez hit an RBI grounder
and Konerko followed with a sacrifice fly for a 4-0 advantage.

The Indians loaded the bases in the fourth on a double by Ellis
Burks, a walk to Thome and Ricky Gutierrez's single, but managed
just one run on Russell Branyan's sacrifice fly.

Colon allowed seven runs -- six earned -- and seven hits in 6 1/3
innings. He also committed two errors, the first on a bad throw
after fielding Royce Clayton's bunt.

Game notes
The White Sox's 10-5 start is their best through 15 games
since 1991 when they had the same record. Jerry Manuel says the
current team is the best he's had in his five seasons, even better
than the 2000 team that won the AL Central. ... Game-time
temperature was a balmy 86 degrees with a gusty wind blowing from
right to left field at 15 mph. ... The White Sox also swept a
three-game set from the Indians last April at Comiskey Park. ... In
the last nine games, the White Sox have outscored their opponents
65-33. ... Colon is 6-4 in his career against the White Sox,
including 4-2 at Comiskey.