Tribe's big first inning opens September with a win

Tribe's big first inning opens September with a win

Tribe's big first inning opens September with a win
CLEVELAND -- For one of the few times in the last month, the Indians clubhouse was a happy place to be following a game Saturday.

Music was blaring. Players were smiling. And after watching his team go 5-24 in August, manager Manny Acta wasn't about to question why.

"It's a new month," he said after the Indians broke a six-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over Texas. "I don't know if the name of a month had anything to do with it, but it's nice to start [September] with a win."

The Indians scored four times in the first and four pitchers made it stand up. Jeanmar Gomez, starting in place of the injured Roberto Hernandez, allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings. Vinnie Pestano, filling in as closer for Chris Perez, retired the final four hitters for his first save. Perez's wife, Melanie, gave birth to a baby girl Saturday.

Joe Smith relieved Gomez in the sixth and pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings. Esmil Rogers retired two batters in the eighth. Pestano gave up a single to Adrian Beltre, but got Nelson Cruz to fly out with two on to end the eighth.

Pestano retired the first batter of the ninth, but David Murphy singled to right. Pestano got behind Geovany Soto 3-0, but battled back to a full count. Soto fouled off three pitches before taking a called third strike. Mitch Moreland grounded out to end the game and Pestano had his first save since July 18, 2011.

"You're in the middle of a losing streak," Acta said. "He's my best guy. He's gotta go the four-out save and win the ballgame. You have to take care of the game today, especially the way we've been going."

"They told me when the eighth started that I might have Beltre," Pestano said.

Since Perez was unavailable, Pestano figured he'd be in the game for a save situation.

"No one told me, but I assumed everybody would just move up a rung," he said.

Cleveland dropped 15 of 16 games and was 5-28 since July 26 going into the game, but the Rangers came to town with the mindset that they couldn't look past the Indians.

"This is the big leagues," said Michael Young, who played shortstop Saturday. "Everybody is capable of winning ballgames. If you have a big league jersey on, I respect the fact that you can play the game. They executed tonight."

The Indians scored four times in the first off Scott Feldman. Carlos Santana had a two-run single and Casey Kotchman and Jack Hannahan added RBI groundouts.

Cleveland's first five hitters of the game reached base. Shin-Soo Choo walked and took third on Jason Kipnis' double to right. Santana's single to left put the Indians ahead 2-0. Singles by Michael Brantley and Russ Canzler loaded the bases before Kotchman and Hannahan followed with run-scoring groundouts.

Gomez, who learned after Friday night's game that he would be starting because Hernandez is still bothered by a sore ankle, allowed four hits, struck out five and walked two in raising his record to 5-7. It was his first win since June 6. The right-hander made 13 starts earlier in the season before being sent to Triple-A Columbus on June 24.

"Our pitching deserves all the credit," Acta said. "Pitching sets the tone."

"Tonight they made four runs stand up," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You have to give credit to their bullpen because we were getting to Gomez a little bit. Their bullpen did a good job."

Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera was scratched from the lineup with a sore right wrist, but was a defensive replacement in the ninth. Acta said Cabrera wouldn't start Sunday, but expected him to play Monday in Detroit.

Canzler, called up from Triple-A Columbus on Friday, started at DH and was 2-for-4.

Steve Herrick is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.