Cleveland starter Jake Westbrook hasn’t been dominating lately, but he’s pitched well enough to win.
Westbrook looks to help the Indians keep pace in the American League wild-card race as they wrap up their three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Westbrook allowed four runs and 10 hits in 6 2-3 innings of Tuesday’s 5-4 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He gave up all four runs in the first inning, but hung on to earn the victory.
“I came along there well after that, and tried to put some zeros on the board,” he said. “The offense just pecked away there and it paid off.”
Westbrook has gone 6-1 over his last seven starts, despite giving up at least four runs in three of those victories. The Indians have scored 45 runs in his last seven outings.
Westbrook, whose 99 runs allowed were the fifth-most in the AL coming into Saturday’s games, has allowed 16 runs in 16 2-3 innings in his last three starts, going 2-1 over that span. Eight of the runs he has allowed in that span have come in the first inning.
“First, you think about getting Westbrook through the first inning,” manager Eric Wedge said of Tuesday’s start. “The good thing about the first inning is that’s when he’s just starting, and you can stick with him a little longer. Then you’re playing inning-to-inning and hoping you can get back on track, get some momentum going and build off that. I guess we did that tonight.”
The Indians managed just an unearned run in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays. Cleveland, which had won eight of its previous nine, dropped one game behind the New York Yankees and Oakland in the wild-card race.
Kevin Millwood pitched a complete game but was charged with the loss for the Indians, who are a major league-best 18-7 since July 31.