Paul Molitor extended his hitting streak to 32 games, rookie Mark Knudson allowed nine hits and the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the Indians, 5-3, last night in Cleveland.

The difference between a 31-game hitting streak and a 32-game hitting streak doesn't seem significant to Molitor right now, although he admits he might change his mind in a few years.

Molitor got a third-inning bunt single in three official at-bats. He has now surpassed Ken Landreaux for the longest streak of the 1980s. Landreaux hit safely in 31 consecutive games for Minnesota in 1980.

"People have mentioned that Landreaux's streak was the longest of the '80s," Molitor said. "Maybe when I look back on my career, if this holds up another three years, it'll be that much more important to me."

Molitor, whose streak is the longest in the majors since Cincinnati's Pete Rose hit in 44 straight games in 1978, dropped a bunt toward third base and easily beat pitcher Scott Bailes' throw. It was his first bunt hit during the streak.

"I'm happy to get my hit early," said Molitor, who is the only player to get five hits in a World Series game. "As the game goes on, you find yourself pressing."

Molitor is batting .409 (54 for 132) during the streak with 35 runs scored, six homers, 20 walks and 26 runs batted in. He is batting .362 for the season.

Knudson (3-3) struck out one and walked none. The right-hander lost his shutout on Pat Tabler's sacrifice fly in the eighth, but did get the first complete game of his major league career. Bailes (6-5) took the loss.

Earlier yesterday, AL President Bobby Brown announced he has reduced Indians outfielder Brett Butler's suspension from five to three games.

Butler was suspended for his involvement in a brawl July 8 in a game against the Kansas City Royals.

Brown had met Friday with Butler at the American League office in New York. Butler was to begin serving the suspension last night.

Butler and Royals pitcher Danny Jackson were initially suspended five games for fighting after a pitch by Jackson sailed over Butler's head.

Brown has now cut both suspensions to three games. Willie Wilson of the Royals also had a five-game suspension reduced to three.