Belliard hit a three-run double to snap a seventh-inning tie and Peralta homered twice and drove in three as the Cleveland Indians broke a three-game losing streak by handing the Texas Rangers their eighth straight loss, 8-2 on Tuesday night.
One day after Cleveland closer Bob Wickman expressed dismay that some of the Indians’ position players often duck the media after games, neither Belliard nor Peralta was available for comment.
C.C. Sabathia (9-9), who won his third straight start as Cleveland rebounded from a three-game sweep at home by Tampa Bay, was talking.
“This was huge,” said Sabathia, who allowed two runs and eight hits over seven innings.
The left-hander was well aware the Indians needed a win to stay in the thick of the AL wild-card race after falling 4 1/2 games back.
“The experience of last year, falling completely out of it, will help this year,” Sabathia said.
A year ago, Cleveland got within one game of first place on Aug. 15, then lost nine straight.
Texas is 3-12 since a four-game winning streak July 27-30.
Belliard lined a 3-2 pitch to left-center off Kenny Rogers (11-6), who was making his second start since serving a 13-game suspension for shoving two cameramen.
“That was one of the best at-bats of the year,” manager Eric Wedge said of Belliard, who had been 1-for-15 off Rogers in his career. “He battled until he got a pitch he could drive and then didn’t miss it.”
Travis Hafner opened the seventh with a sharply hit ball off second baseman Alfonso Soriano’s glove that was ruled an error. Victor Martinez followed with a slow tapper toward third that Rogers came off the mound and grabbed. Without any chance of getting the runner, he threw to first anyway. Mark Teixeira scrambled 12 feet off the bag to keep the ball from going past for an error, holding Hafner at second.
Jose Hernandez put down a sacrifice bunt that Rogers fielded, but dropped for another error, loading the bases.
“I don’t think the game got away from Kenny,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “He pitched well enough to win. We just did some things and didn’t help ourselves.”
Belliard’s double made it 5-2. Grady Sizemore’s sacrifice fly in the inning gave Cleveland a four-run lead.
One-out doubles by Michael Young and Teixeira put Texas ahead 1-0 in the first.
Peralta’s 17th homer made it 2-1 in the bottom half, when the Indians thought they scored more.
After the two-run homer, Hafner walked and Martinez followed with a drive that appeared headed over the wall in center. Gary Matthews leaped and the ball disappeared from view, then suddenly appeared in his glove. Matthews threw back to the infield to double up Hafner.
“He would have to be a contortionist to make that catch,” said Wedge, who argued with second base umpire Marvin Hudson. Television replays clearly showed Matthews trapped the ball after it caromed off the top of the fence. Martinez should have had an RBI double.
Young credited Matthews with an Oscar-worthy acting performance.
“I had a good view of it,” the Rangers shortstop said. “He made a great sell.”
Rogers then shut down the Indians until the seventh. He retired 17 of 18, including 12 straight after Jason Dubois’ leadoff single in the third.
Rod Barajas hit the first pitch from Sabathia in the fifth for his 12th homer and a 2-2 tie.
Rogers, winless in three starts since July 16, gave up three earned runs and six hits over seven innings.
Peralta hit his 18th homer off Francisco Cordero in the eighth and Hernandez added an RBI single in the inning.
Indians 3B Aaron Boone was a late scratch because of a sore neck. … Soriano has hit .344 (21-for-61) during a 15-game hitting streak. … Sabathia is 6-2 in his career against Texas. … Rogers fell to 13-14 all-time against Cleveland. … Texas last lost eight straight in June 2003. … Peralta’s 18 homers are the most by an Indians shortstop since Woodie Held hit 18 in 1962. It was his first multihomer game. … Belliard is batting .379 (22-for-58) with 57 RBIs in his career with the bases loaded.