Westbrook received some rare run support from his teammates and the surging Indians opened a 12-game homestand—their longest this season—with an 11-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday night.
Westbrook (3-9), who has pitched much better than his record shows, allowed two runs and eight hits in seven efficient innings. The right-hander has had to go it alone for most of the season as the Indians averaged an AL-low 2.6 runs in his previous 13 starts, scoring just 15 in his nine losses.
But the Indians pushed across five runs in the first three innings off Colorado’s Jeff Francis (5-4) and piled on six more for their fourth straight victory. Cleveland, 7-1 since June 4, has won 15 of 22 and moved two games over .500 (32-30) for the first time since Aug. 21.
Before the offensive outburst, the Indians hadn’t scored more than six runs in any outing by Westbrook this season.
“You kind of felt bad for him,” said Jose Hernandez, who went 3-for-5 with an RBI. “His games are always like 2-1 and 3-2. We’ve scored for the other guys, and today we scored for him.”
During his personal run drought, Westbrook never once complained about the Indians’ offensive abyss. That’s not his style. But as the Indians continued to struggle scoring whenever he pitched, Westbrook found it increasingly difficult to block the trend out of his mind.
“Sure you think about it,” said Westbrook, who went 14-9 and made the All-Star team in 2004. “It’s out there. It’s tough to go out and pitch well when all you have is a lot of losses to show for it.”
Jhonny Peralta had three RBIs and Travis Hafner hit a 474-foot, two-run homer for Cleveland, which returned to Jacobs Field following a season-long 12-game trip. The Indians improved to 17-0 when they score at least six runs.
The Rockies made two errors—they lead the NL with 54—and fell to 4-24 away from Coors Field.
Staked to a 5-2 lead after three innings, Westbrook got double-play grounders in the fifth and sixth innings and worked a 1-2-3 seventh before turning things over to Cleveland’s steady bullpen.
“It’s nice to get it,” Westbrook said of a lead. “It was better that they kept adding to it.”
Leading 3-2, Peralta delivered a two-out, two-run single in the third to give Westbrook some cushion. The Indians added two more in the sixth on an RBI double by Coco Crisp and Ronnie Belliard’s RBI single.
Cleveland made it 9-2 in the seventh, and added two more runs in the eighth off Matt Anderson on Hafner’s eighth homer, a mammoth shot above the auxiliary scoreboard in right field’s second deck.
“When a guy throws hard and you hit it on the screws, it goes a long way,” Hafner said.
Francis lost for the fourth time in five starts, allowing seven runs and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings.
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle was most disappointed in Francis’ inconsistency and inability to make adjustments.
“Outside of two innings, we didn’t do a whole lot right on the mound,” he said.
Francis wasn’t pleased with his performance.
“There’s a lot for me to think about,” he said. “It has to be something with my delivery. If there is a kind of challenge I’d like to meet, it’s from the hitters and not myself.”
Grady Sizemore, who batted .408 as the Indians went 7-5 on their road trip, led off the first with a single and scored when Hafner doubled. After Victor Martinez was hit by Francis, Hernandez’s RBI single made it 2-0.
Sizemore is batting .500 (23-for-46) with 14 runs in his last 10 games. … Francis hit Martinez with pitches in his first two at-bats, continuing a control problem for Rockies pitchers. They top the NL in walks, wild pitches and hit batters and could become the first team to lead the league in those three categories since the 1978 Atlanta Braves. … The Indians are 8-2 this season in interleague play and 78-81 against the NL since 1997. Colorado is just 14-43 on the road in interleague play. … INF Ryan Shealy made his major league debut as Colorado’s DH. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and grounded into a double play.