Tom Candiotti pitched 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, and David Justice homered to cap the Indians' comeback from an eight-run deficit for a 9-8 victory over the Kansas City Royals in the opener of a day-night doubleheader yesterday in Cleveland.
In the nightcap, Jim Thome hit the longest home run ever at Jacobs Field in the Indians' 9-5 victory. Thome connected on a 3-1 pitch from Don Wengert (0-1), sending the ball an estimated 511 feet to center field to start an eight-run second inning.
"It was a real emotional day to come back here and contribute," said Candiotti (4-5). "I can't describe how happy I am to be back with this team."
The knuckleballer, signed June 29 after Oakland released him, retired 17 of 19 batters, allowing only a bunt single to Carlos Febles in the sixth and a double to Febles in the eighth. He struck out four and walked none in his first relief appearance since June 20, 1997.
"Those were my first two hits off a knuckleball pitcher," Febles said. "Even though I got those hits, he was really tough. He threw a soft one and a hard one and they were really moving."
Candiotti got his first win for Cleveland since June 2, 1991. He spent 5 1/2 years with the Indians before being traded in the midst of a 1991 season in which Cleveland went 57-105. Mike Jackson pitched a one-hit ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.
"Candiotti was outstanding," Indians Manager Mike Hargrove said. "Our bullpen is really tired and he saved us. When he came in, he just could not allow another run for us to have any hope of winning."
Kansas City took an 8-0 lead in the second inning but had just three hits after that.
BLUE JAYS 5, DEVIL RAYS 0: In Toronto, Chris Carpenter pitched a three-hitter for his third career shutout and Tony Fernandez hit a three-run double. Jose Canseco, the Blue Jays' designated hitter last season, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts for Tampa Bay. "Carpenter throws 95-plus, he's got one of the better curveballs in baseball, he's got a change-up," Canseco said. "Once he really settles in and finds success, he's going to be one of the best pitchers in baseball."
TWINS 7, TIGERS 2: In Minneapolis, Mike Lincoln won for the first time in almost a month and fellow rookie Jacque Jones hit his first major league homer. Lincoln "looked like Cy Young to me," said Lance Parrish, filling in for Tigers Manager Larry Parrish while he serves a two-game suspension. "Of course we make a lot of guys look like that."
WHITE SOX 11, RED SOX 2: In Chicago, rookie Carlos Lee drove in four runs to support Mike Sirotka and send Boston to its third loss in four games.
ATHLETICS 9, ANGELS 7: John Jaha had three hits and drove in four runs as the Athletics won before an record crowd of 50,916 at home.
MARINERS 13, RANGERS 12: Alex Rodriguez hit two homers and drove in four runs as visiting Seattle rallied from a seven-run deficit.