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Wednesday, Apr. 4 7:05pm ET
Cleveland has first non-sellout since 1995

CLEVELAND (AP) – Chuck Finley glanced at the empty seats high above Jacobs Field and wondered what he had done wrong.

"I was trying not to take it personal," Finley joked. "You start at home and all of a sudden the ballpark's half-empty. I kind of had a tear in my eye."

Finley pitched into the seventh inning, and Russ Branyan homered as the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 8-4 Wednesday night in front of 32,763 – the first non-sellout crowd in nearly six years at Jacobs Field.

For the first time since June 7, 1995, Jacobs Field was not sold out as the Indians' major league record of consecutive sellouts ended at 455 games.

Cleveland had gone 2,122 days between non-sellouts and it was strange to see large sections of empty green seats in the upper deck and left-field bleachers, which are normally packed with fans.

"I only looked up there one time," Finley said. "And I thought, 'What did a bridge collapse or something?"'

Finley was the AL's best pitcher last September, leading the league with six wins and twice winning on three days' rest. With six months off this time, the left-hander looked sharp in his first outing this season.

Finley gave up four runs and seven hits in 6 1-3 innings, and got out of a potential mess in the sixth with an inning-ending double play. He improved to 13-5 in his career at the Jake, including 11-3 since signing with the Indians before last season.

"I don't want to get run out of town," said Finley, who has won five straight dating to last season. "These fans are knowledgeable. They'll show you where (Interstate) 90 East is and tell you to hit it."

Roberto Alomar had three hits and Branyan connected for his second homer, a two-run shot into Chicago's bullpen in the fifth that chased Cal Eldred and put the Indians up 8-3.

Sandy Alomar homered in his second game back in Cleveland and Magglio Ordonez added a solo shot for the White Sox.

Eldred, pitching with a five-inch screw surgically implanted in his elbow, had a personal eight-game winning streak stopped and lost for the first time in 14 decisions.

The right-hander, whose 2000 season was cut short by a stress fracture in his elbow, allowed eight runs and nine hits and struggled with his control. He walked three, hit three and didn't get any help from second baseman Ray Durham in Cleveland's five-run second.

Durham couldn't handle line drives hit by Ellis Burks and Jacob Cruz, setting up Cleveland's big inning.

"Those weren't tough plays at all," Durham said. "The first one I lost and the second one I just didn't get to. I guess I need a longer glove."

Indians center field Kenny Lofton left with a strained right calf in the second. After hitting a two-run single in Cleveland's five-run second, Lofton appeared to injure himself just before breaking to second on Omar Vizquel's RBI single.

Lofton, who was replaced by Jolbert Cabrera on the basepaths and in center, hobbled off the field and is day to day.

"I don't think it's anything real serious," Indians manager Charlie Manuel said. "He might miss a day or two."

The Indians scored five runs in the second off Eldred, loading the bases on a walk and the two singles Durham couldn't snag before hitting Eddie Taubensee to force in a run. Lofton hit his two-run single before Vizquel and Alomar singled in runs.

Sandy Alomar came up in the second and drilled Finley's first pitch over the left-field wall, and Cleveland's fans cheered loudly as the former Indians All-Star catcher circled the bases.

Game notes
Indians RHP Charles Nagy pitched five shutout innings in an extended spring training game in Winter Haven, Fla. Nagy, attempting a comeback from elbow surgery, allowed one hit in his 80-pitch outing. RHP Jaret Wright had a pain-free bullpen session and will make a minor league start in Winter Haven on Saturday. Wright underwent season-ending shoulder surgery last August. ... Eldred is 5-9 in his career against the Indians. The nine losses are his most against any opponent. ... Alomar's first homer with Chicago was the 94th of his career. ... Vizquel, who had just three errors in 648 chances last season, had his first miscue of the season in the fourth when he charged but mishandled Alomar's hopper. Vizquel didn't make his first error until the 96th game last season.

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