CLEVELAND (AP)—The base hits didn’t pile up so easily or quickly against Jake Westbrook this time. The sinker-made grounders that found every possible hole in the infield turned into outs.
His linescore looks better, and so does his record.
Westbrook (9-7) limited the Angels to nine hits—all singles and just two after the third inning—and has won consecutive starts for the first time since April 4-9. He walked one (not until the eighth), struck out seven and has pitched into the sixth inning in 11 of his past 12 starts.
The right-hander was coming off a 15-hit win over Boston in which he became the first pitcher since Montreal’s John Dobson in 1988 to give up at least that many hits and win. After three innings, the Angels had seven hits and Westbrook began to wonder and worry.
“I thought for a second that I was going for the 15-hit record again,” he joked.
Using his sinker to near perfection, Westbrook got the Angels to bounce into three double plays. It was Westbrook’s third career shutout—he blanked Kansas City on May 17—and his 10th complete game.
“After the third inning he relaxed and used the zone and got into his game,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “He got the double plays when he needed them.”
The Indians had one of their best defensive efforts. In the first, rookie left fielder Joe Inglett made a diving catch to rob Garret Anderson with two on. In the fourth, shortstop Jhonny Peralta took away a single from Juan Rivera with a nice, backhanded stab.
“It was nice to sit back and watch the guys play,” Westbrook said.
The Angels lost for the first time in five games and remained three games back of first-place Oakland in the AL West. With the Athletics losing 14-0 to Texas, the Angels blew a chance to gain ground.
Lackey, the AL pitcher of the month in July, when he went 5-1, has dropped two straight decisions. He allowed three earned runs and nine hits in six innings, but had issues with his command and control.
Still, he was pleased with his outing.
“I felt good,” he said. “I definitely pitched better than the numbers show.”
With four rookies in their starting lineup, the Indians, whose last six losses have all come by one run, jumped to a 3-0 lead in the second against Lackey.
Martinez led off with a single and Peralta doubled. Choo followed with an RBI single before Lackey walked Hector Luna to load the bases. Rookie Ryan Garko hit a sacrifice fly to deep right, scoring Peralta.
“John had one rough inning,” Scioscia said. “But if we could have found a way to score it would have been different.”
Lackey’s wildness gave the Indians a 4-0 lead in the fourth. He walked Luna, who came around to score when Inglett drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs.
Cleveland’s 11 shutouts are the second-most in the majors behind Detroit’s 13, and the club’s highest total since 1989. Eight of the shutouts have come at home. … 3B Maicer Izturis is the first Angels player whose last name starts with the letter “I”. … Cabrera’s error was the Angels’ 89th, most in the AL. Los Angeles has also given up a major league-high 70 unearned runs. … Westbrook is 50-50 in 121 career starts. … Mistaken identity: A 2004 Casey Blake baseball card is pinned up in the Indians’ clubhouse across from his locker. It contains Blake’s biography and playing statistics on the back, but the front photograph is of former Cleveland catcher Josh Bard. … Indians manager Eric Wedge said he has no jobs promised in his bullpen next season. “It’s wide open,” he said. “We’ve got multiple people out there who could be a part of our bullpen next year, but that’s up to them. We need to figure out what we’ve got out there, and who fits where for next season.” … The Indians are expected to recall RHP Jeremy Guthrie to start the second game of their day-night doubleheader Saturday with Kansas City.