Bench-earring incident marks M's bizarre win

SEATTLE (AP) -- Cleveland manager Charlie Manuel missed a game where Arthur Rhodes' glittering earrings almost started a brawl.

Tempers on both sides flared during the dispute over Arthur Rhodes' earrings.
Tempers on both sides flared during the dispute over Arthur Rhodes' earrings.

Manuel went to the hospital before the game with stomach pain,

and the Seattle Mariners edged the Indians 3-2 Saturday on John

Rocker's throwing error in the 11th inning.

The wild ending came two innings after an even stranger event -- Mariners reliever Rhodes became upset after being told to take off

his earrings, sparking a bench-clearing incident.

Rhodes was incensed at Indians hitter Omar Vizquel.

"A little short hitter like him," Rhodes said of Vizquel, who

is listed at 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds. "A little midget. I'm not

worried about him. A buck 25. You think I'm scared of him?"

Vizquel said he asked that Rhodes' earrings be taken out because the glare from them was blinding him.

"I don't know why he acted the way he acted," he said. "I

think it's in the rules anyway that you're not supposed to wear any

jewelry out there. He started pointing at me. He started at my

head. He was pointing at me like he was going to hit me or


Rocker (3-6) issued a leadoff walk to John Olerud, and pinch-runner Al Martin moved to second on Mike Cameron's infield single.

David Bell then bunted back to Rocker, Cleveland's seventh pitcher. Rocker fielded the sacrifice but threw the ball low past second baseman Roberto Alomar. First baseman Jim Thome was charging the play.

"The weather was nice," said bench coach Grady Little, who replaced Manuel. "Good crowd. Good game. We just lost."

Rocker was booed when he came onto the field for the first time in Seattle and the crowd cheered when it was announced he was the losing pitcher.

"That's all part of his past history," said Cameron, who, like Rocker, was born and raised in Georgia. "That's something he has to deal with."

John Halama (9-6) got the victory with 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

Manuel was sent to Seattle's Swedish Hospital, after coming to

Safeco Field, because his stomach was giving him more problems. He

is expected to be hospitalized for one or two days because of "a minor abdominal problem," Dr. Dan Frank said.

Little took over for Manuel, 57, who had eight inches of colon

removed during surgery in February 2000 and who missed 13 games in

May 2000 when he had to have his colon reattached.

Little said he talked to Manuel before the game.

"He sounded a little groggy," he said. "He went through some stuff today that most of us wouldn't want to for a whole day."

The Indians lost starter Chuck Finley after two innings because of a strained right rib cage. Right fielder Juan Gonzalez went out in the fifth with a strained left hamstring.

In a bizarre ninth, Rhodes was ejected by third-base umpire Tim McClelland. Rhodes, who had not yet thrown a pitch, started yelling at Vizquel.

Players from both benches came onto the field and Rhodes had to be restrained by manager Lou Piniella from going after Vizquel.

"It became a shouting match between Vizquel and Rhodes," McClelland said. "To stop anything further, I asked Arthur to leave."

Piniella said Vizquel's request to have Rhodes shed his earrings was wrong.

"He's been playing with them in all year," Piniella said. "That's the first time I've ever seen that questioned."

Rhodes replaced Seattle closer Kazuhiro Sasaki, who was taken out in the ninth after going 1-0 to Vizquel. Sasaki was removed because of soreness in his right thigh.

Replacing Freddy Garcia in the ninth with the score tied 2-all, Sasaki got the first two outs before Kenny Lofton singled.

The Indians took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Wil Cordero's

sacrifice fly. They made it 2-0 on Jolbert Cabrera's RBI single.

Seattle's Edgar Martinez singled in a run in the sixth off Westbrook, and Stan Javier tied it with an RBI single off Danys Baez in the seventh.

Garcia pitched eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits and

six walks, with five strikeouts. The six walks were the most given

up by a Mariners pitcher this season.

Game notes
Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki, who has a 21-game hitting streak,

was given the day off. Piniella has been resting his regulars.

Suzuki didn't start a game for the seventh time this season. He's

played in 127 of his team's 130 games. ... Finley, 5-6 in his

second season with the Indians, has been on the disabled list twice

this season because of neck and shoulder spasms. ... Gonzalez

missed six games from July 29-Aug. 4 with his strained left

hamstring. ... Martinez collected his 99th RBI of the season.