The Angels (59-54) blew a 4-0 lead in Tuesday’s series opener, but scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning to pull out a 5-4 victory. After the Indians rallied for four runs in the sixth, Los Angeles came back in the eighth when pinch hitter Adam Kennedy hit a two-out single that scored Vladimir Guerrero.
“You just want to stay ready and be aggressive,” said Kennedy, who was 0-for-5 in pinch-hit situations entering the game. “I wanted to go up there and start hacking away.”
To extend the winning streak, the Angels will need John Lackey (10-7, 3.28 ERA) to perform like he did in being named the AL’s pitcher of the month for July, rather than the starter who was hit hard in his last outing.
Lackey went 5-1 with a 2.08 ERA in July, which included back-to-back shutouts and a one-hitter at Oakland, but he didn’t display that form on Friday against Texas, giving up six hits and seven runs in 4 1-3 innings of a 7-3 loss.
“It’s been a long time since John has been off like this, but you can’t keep putting guys on against a team like that,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We had a great July and we’ve fallen off a bit. But we’ll get back on this horse. John will be OK.”
The right-hander is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts against Cleveland this season, and 3-4 with a 2.87 ERA in eight career outings against the Indians.
Cleveland (47-64) has lost four straight overall, and six one-run games since July 30.
“It’s a hard habit to break sometimes,” said Indians starter Jeremy Sowers, who gave up three earned runs in seven innings Tuesday. “Especially when you are banging on the doors like we are and keep falling short.”
Jake Westbrook (8-7, 4.45) hopes to string together consecutive victories for only the second time this season when he starts for the Indians on Wednesday.
Westbrook won his first two starts this season, but has since struggled with consistency. He snapped a three-game losing streak with a victory at Boston on Thursday, despite allowing a career-high 15 hits and six runs in eight innings.
“It was a weird game, but that’s baseball,” Westbrook said. “I was getting ground balls, they just happened to find the holes here and there. I still think like they felt I was in control of the game.”
The right-hander was the first pitcher to win despite allowing 15 hits since Montreal’s John Dopson beat Atlanta 9-2 on July 3, 1988.
Westbrook gave up 12 hits and seven runs—five earned—in 3 2-3 innings of a 10-5 loss to Los Angeles on July 17, and is 1-4 with a 4.11 ERA in five career starts against the Angels. He’s lost four straight against Los Angeles since a victory on July 20, 2004.