Indians 3, Padres 2
Sabathia took a shutout into the eighth inning and got some help from Gerut and Cleveland’s defense Wednesday night, leading the Indians to a 3-2 interleague win over the San Diego Padres.
Gerut homered off Adam Eaton (2-5) and made two nice plays in right field— one crashing face first into the outfield wall—behind Sabathia as the Indians won for the 10th time in 12 games at home since May 16.
“That wall tasted pretty good,” Gerut said. “Sometimes, you just have to bite it.”
Sabathia (5-3), who has pitched much better than his record indicates, blanked the Padres on nine hits for 7 2-3 innings before giving up Brian Buchanan’s two-out, two-run homer.
Baez fielded pinch-hitter Dave Hansen’s slow roller toward first and made a headfirst dive to tag the base with his glove for the final out.
“I made the play,” said Baez, whose hand was cut when he got stepped on by Hansen. “Unbelievable.”
Sabathia was coming off his worst outing this season, 4 1-3 innings at Colorado during which the 6-foot-7, 300-pounder caught his cleats in the dirt and tumbled off the mound at Coors Field.
But Sabathia did nothing to embarrass himself against the Padres, whose 7-23 record on the road is baseball’s worst. San Diego has lost 15 of their last 17 away from home.
Sabathia struck out four, walked none and pitched into the seventh inning for the eighth time in 14 starts.
He was also backed by some stellar defense from Gerut and second baseman Brandon Phillips.
“Those guys really got me going,” Sabathia said. “Once they made those plays behind me, I felt like I needed to step things up.”
The Padres were bracing for Sabathia’s fastball, but were just as impressed by his offspeed stuff.
“His changeup was outstanding,” Eaton said. “When he throws that where he wants, at 84 mph, that’s 12 to 15 off his fastball and try hitting that.”
The Indians scored twice in the fourth off Eaton, but had a third runner thrown out at home.
After Ben Broussard walked, Casey Blake grounded a run-scoring single to right that Padres outfielder Xavier Nady overran before throwing to second base. Broussard tried to score from first on the play, but was gunned down on a close play at the plate.
Cleveland’s defense cut down a run at home for Sabathia with a pair of nice relay throws in the second.
In the second, Gerut made a lunging catch at the warning track to rob Gary Bennett of extra bases before crashing hard into the padded outfield wall.
“That guy in right field, what’s his name?” Buchanan said of Gerut. “He made a couple real good plays. He robbed Gary. On the ball (homer) I hit, I was thinking he could do it again.”
Phillips ended the fifth by barehanding a high hopper behind the mound and throwing out Mark Loretta with a runner at second. In the ninth, Phillips backhanded a ball up the middle before making a leaping throw to getBurroughs.
Gerut is batting .395 with three homers and 10 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak. … The Padres are 4-16 against lefty starters. … Vizquel will have surgery on his right knee Thursday after an MRI revealed torn cartilage. The three-time All-Star shortstop injured his knee while sliding into home plate at Arizona on Friday night. The Indians originally said the medical report showed nothing that would prevent Vizquel from playing. … Gary Matthews Jr. went 1-for-4 and is batting .302 (19-for-63) since joining the Padres on May 23. He was waived by Baltimore on May 23. … Buchanan is batting.500 (9-for-18) with three homers in his last five games.