Indians 5, Angels 1

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—Cliff Lee zipped along through five innings without giving up a hit. He didn’t expect it to last and the Angels proved him right.

Lee did toss a three-hitter for his 50th career victory and the Cleveland Indians defeated Los Angeles 5-1 on Tuesday night, their 13th win in 16 games.

“I’m not one of those superstitious guys that thinks they got to not say anything or not notice that,” Lee said. “I didn’t expect to make it the whole game without a hit. All that matters is if we win or lose, and giving the team a chance to win and get as deep into the game as you can every time.”

Lee got offensive help from catcher Victor Martinez, who homered for the fourth time on the road and had an RBI-single. Casey Blake drove in two runs for the Indians, who improved to 17-4 against right-handed starters.

“The key for him was to just get ahead,” Martinez said. “I’m talking as a hitter, when you face a pitcher who gets ahead right away, it’s pretty tough. He was able to throw his off-speed pitches for strikes.”

Lee (1-0), who is 50-28 in his fourth full season, struck out two and walked two in his second career nine-inning complete game. His other nine-inning complete game came against Tampa Bay on the final day of last season.

“I had some quick innings and that totally helped out,” Lee said. “I was locating fastballs pretty well all night. I felt like my changeup was working pretty good. I got all my outs with fastballs and changeups.”

The left-hander spent the first month of the season on the disabled list because of a strained right abdominal muscle. Lee made his first start last Thursday against Toronto, and received a no-decision after giving up five runs and nine hits in six innings.

“I was trying to be too fine my first three or four innings there my last start and then by the end of that game, I was back to just kind of let the ball go,” he said.

Lee didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning Tuesday, when Mike Napoli doubled to right field. He scored on Reggie Willits’ single past diving shortstop Jhonny Peralta as the Angels trailed 3-1.

“He was attacking the zone, throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes and keeping his pitch count down,” Napoli said. “He was getting ahead, throwing his cutter and his changeup, and we really couldn’t get anything going off of him. He pretty much dominated.”

The Angels’ offense continued to sputter, tying a season low with three hits. They lost their third in a row at home after starting 12-3.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in the lineup we put out there. It’s a lineup that can score runs when guys are in their game. Right now there’s some guys that are soft. But I don’t want to take anything away from Lee,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

“He pitched a terrific game. He was around the plate all night and challenged us. He wasn’t messing around and he was coming at us with his best stuff.”

Ervin Santana (2-5) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings. The right-hander struck out six and walked three in losing his third in a row.

“I can’t get upset because one day I know we’re going to start hitting and put everything together,” Santana said.

The Indians staked Lee to a 3-0 lead. Their first run came on Martinez’ RBI-single with two outs in the first. He homered to lead off the fourth before Blake’s RBI-single in the fifth.

Cleveland added two runs in the ninth on an RBI-single by Blake and a groundout by Travis Hafner.

Notes

After the game, the Angels optioned INF Brandon Wood to Triple-A Salt Lake and recalled INF Matt Brown. … Hafner tied a career high with four strikeouts for the first time since June 1, 2004, against Texas. … Cleveland RF Trot Nixon went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first game since getting a career-high five hits and four RBIs Sunday against Baltimore. … The Angels turned their AL-leading 38th double play in the sixth. … Black smoke from a nearby brush fire was visible from Angel Stadium as it drifted across the roof of the Anaheim Ducks’ arena across the freeway early in the game.

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