The last-place Cleveland Indians scored six runs in the ninth inning in New York to beat the Yankees, 9-5, yesterday, then rubbed it in by criticizing the way Billy Martin had managed the Yankees.
A crowd of 15,320 saw the Yankees fall five games behind the first-place Toronto Blue Jays by losing their fourth in a row in the afternoon game, a makeup game for one lost to last month's strike. Just last Friday, the Yankees were 1 1/2 games out of first place.
Thanks to the Indians' errors, reliever Brian Fisher had entered the ninth with a 5-3 lead. But George Vukovich, Brook Jacoby and Jerry Willard singled to load the bases with none out. Brett Butler's grounder made it 5-4, then Tony Bernazard's grounder left Fisher one out short of victory.
Instead, Julio Franco's bloop-triple down the right field line put the Indians ahead, 6-5. Andre Thornton, who'd already homered once in the game, followed with his 17th homer of the season, into the left field seats. Otis Nixon walked, stole second and scored on Joe Carter's single. Fisher (4-4), who entered the game with a 2.00 ERA, was charged with six earned runs in 1 1/3 innings.
Martin used Fisher "all wrong," said Butler, who played with Fisher in the minors. "He could've killed the kid's confidence. He shouldn't have left him in that long. I personally think he should have brought in (Dave) Righetti from the bullpen after Julio's triple."
Manager Pat Corrales of the Indians was more diplomatic. "I don't know what's going on over there," he said, "and, I don't know Billy's situation. I can't speak for his team."
"I didn't want to waste two pitchers in a losing game," Martin said.
"I sat down after that inning and said maybe this is good for me," Fisher said.