CLEVELAND (AP)—With the strikeouts piling up, Jhonny Peralta figured he might as well swing away, too.
Peralta hit the first pitch he saw for a game-winning RBI single with one out in the 11th inning to give the Cleveland Indians an 8-7 victory Wednesday night over the Texas Rangers, who fanned out a team-record 19 times.
“I was going to swing at anything,” Peralta said. “I put it in play and it found a hole.”
Victor Martinez doubled down the right-field line to open the 11th off Willie Eyre (1-1) and took third on Kelly Shoppach’s ground single to center. After Jason Michaels struck out, Peralta, in a 3-for-36 (.091) slump, hit a grounder just out of the reach of diving third baseman Hank Blalock to drive in Martinez for the win.
Fernando Cabrera (1-0), the last of seven Cleveland pitchers, struck out five over two innings for the win.
“Fernando pitched well with the game on the line,” said Indians manager Eric Wedge, who didn’t realize how many strikeouts his pitchers had.
“We struck out 19 guys?” he said. “This was not your usual run-of-the-mill ballgame.”
“I don’t know what led to that,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “You don’t like to see it, but that many strikeouts doesn’t bother me at all. We still could have won the game.”
Indians starter C.C. Sabathia fanned eight over six innings, leaving with a 6-5 lead.
“It hurts to battle back like that and lose at the end,” Young said. “We have to be more consistent. You can’t pat yourself on the back for coming back if you didn’t play well the first two innings.”
Second baseman Kinsler’s error helped Cleveland score four unearned runs in a five-run second inning off Vicente Padilla.
With the bases loaded and one out, Shin-Soo Choo sent a grounder to Kinsler, who tried to tag Peralta running from first, but missed. Kinsler then threw wildly to first, sending Choo to second and Peralta to third as Ryan Garko and Trot Nixon scored to make it 2-0.
“It was an inexperienced mistake,” Washington said. “He’ll learn from it. If he gets one out there, that’s OK. He’ll make that play the next time.”
The five-run inning was Cleveland’s largest since the Indians scored five in the first inning of the season opener April 2 in Chicago.
Travis Hafner’s RBI single in the fourth made it 6-0.
Kinsler keyed the Rangers’ comeback with a three-run homer in the sixth, his eighth of the season. Sosa added a two-run double high off the left-field wall later in the sixth. Washington argued with third-base umpire Dale Scott that it was a homer. TV replays showed the ball hit the yellow home-run line atop the wall.
About an inch higher, and Sosa would have become the first player to homer in 44 major-league stadiums. He is tied with Ken Griffey Jr. and Fred McGriff for the record. Jacobs Field is one of three current ballparks in which Sosa is homerless.
Padilla, who struck out the side on 13 pitches in the first, gave up five hits and two earned runs over four innings. The right-hander walked three, hit a batter, and struck out four.
Choo’s two-out RBI single in the seventh made it 7-5.
Sosa’s two-out RBI single off Rafael Betancourt in the eighth got Texas within 7-6.
The last time Cleveland struck out 19 batters in a game was July 3, 1968, when Luis Tiant got them all in a 10-inning win over Minnesota. … The Rangers’ six straight hits in the sixth were a season high. … Hafner, who went 1-for-4 with a walk and hit by pitch, has reached base safely in 23 of his last 35 plate appearances. … Young had three hits for his fifth multihit game. He was second in the AL with 69 multihit games last season.