Peralta hit a two-run homer in the fifth and drove in three runs to help the Indians beat the Texas Rangers 6-3 on Saturday night.
Starting the night in a 2-for-20 slide and leading the team in strikeouts, Peralta was just trying make contact. But his 13th homer on a Vicente Padilla slider that caught too much of the plate extended Cleveland’s advantage to 6-1.
“I was happy to get a good swing,” Peralta said. “I needed a good at-bat there. You can never have enough offense against this team.”
Cleveland manager Eric Wedge was pleased to see Peralta come through.
“It was a big hit,” Wedge said. “I’ve said it before, he drives the ball to right as well as any right-handed hitter I’ve seen. He got all over that pitch.”
Victor Martinez keyed a four-run third with a two-run double for the Indians, who won for only the sixth time in their last 20 games.
Rafael Betancourt got three outs for his second save in five chances.
Brian Slocum got a no-decision in his first major league start, leaving after four innings even though the Indians had stretched their lead to 6-1 in the fifth. His first six appearances had come in relief.
Slocum, who allowed one run and four hits, said a 33-pitch fourth inning was his undoing, and he had no quarrel with Wedge’s decision to change pitchers.
“I would have loved to have gotten the win,” Slocum said. “But I understand why I was taken out. I was definitely fatigued.”
Texas starter Vicente Padilla (14-10) gave up six runs and eight hits in five innings, striking out five and walking three. He struggled against the Indians for the second time this month. On Sept. 1, Cleveland had six runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings off Padilla in a 7-2 victory.
Rangers manager Buck Showalter said Padilla had trouble keeping the ball down.
“He was a little high in the zone,” Showalter said. “That two-run homer was a big pitch.”
Cleveland took a 4-0 lead in the third on Martinez’s two-run double, Shin-Shoo Choo’s RBI single, and Peralta’s run-scoring double.
Mark DeRosa’s RBI single in the fourth cut the deficit to 4-1.
In the eighth, Teixeira singled and Lee followed with his ninth homer in 53 games for the Rangers to pull Texas within 6-3.
The Rangers fell to 39-41 at home, assuring their first losing record there since 1997 (39-42).
“It’s something we’ve been very good at in the past,” Showalter said of his team’s history of success at home. “So it’s something we’re going to have to solve.”
The Rangers observed a pre-game moment of silence for Judy Johns, the club’s longtime director of Major League Administration who died of natural causes at age 56 on Saturday morning. … Martinez stretched his hitting streak to 10 games. … Teixeira had his fourth four-hit game of the season and ninth of his career.