Indians hit 3 HRs in 5-2 win over Angels
Andy Marte and Casey Blake homered against All-Star Ervin Santana on Monday night and Jhonny Peralta went deep against reliever Justin Speier, leading the Indians to a 5-2 victory that snapped the Angels’ five-game winning streak and pulled Cleveland out of the AL Central basement.
Martinez, Cleveland’s cleanup hitter, hasn’t played since June 11 because of inflammation in his right elbow. Hafner, the Indians’ No.3 hitter, hasn’t played since May 25 due to a right shoulder strain. Last season they combined for 49 homers and 214 RBIs.
“When you take the 3-4 hitters out of any team’s lineup in the majors, it’s going to hurt,” Blake said. “But we were able to capitalize on a couple of mistakes against a great pitcher and got a couple of big home runs. This lineup can still do some damage, but we have to keep doing what we did tonight when we get good pitches to hit.”
Martinez isn’t expected to be back until mid-August. Hafner is scheduled to take a strength test when the Indians return home to see when he will be given clearance to swing.
Manager Eric Wedge acknowledged the injuries are a significant reason for his team’s 44-54 record.
“If you break it down and look at the players that we’ve had injured, arguably that’s the biggest part of our ballclub,” he said. “But what we’re focusing on right now are the players who are here and how they play in the games we have left. We’re going out there and trying to win as many games as possible and see what happens.”
Paul Byrd (4-10) allowed a run and nine hits over 5 1-3 innings for his first victory since June 6. He was 0-5 with a 7.76 ERA in his previous six starts. The former Angels right-hander came in 1-8 with a 6.94 ERA on the road.
“Every inning was a battle,” Byrd said. “It was just one of those nights where nothing came easy. They’re a great team over there, they’re very scrappy, they know how to put pressure on you. I flirted with disaster all night, and somehow came out on top. Rarely do I pitch well against teams I play for, so it’s just nice to beat the Angels.”
Byrd worked with runners on base in five of the first six innings, stranding five in scoring position.
The Angels had two on and one out in the sixth when Byrd was replaced by Rafael Perez, who retired Chone Figgins on a double play grounder. They stranded nine, while the Indians won for the seventh time in eight games.
Masa Kobayashi struck out the side in the ninth for his sixth save in eight chances. The Indians have had only two ninth-inning save situations in 13 games since they designated ineffective closer Joe Borowski for assignment on July 4.
“The relievers came in and pitched phenomenal. I can’t say enough about Raffy Perez coming in and shutting the door in that inning,” Byrd said. “Maybe that’s a sign that things are going to turn around for me and turn around for the Cleveland Indians in the second half.”
The Angels, coming off a three-game sweep of defending World Series champion Boston, still own baseball’s best record (60-39) and hold a nine-game lead over Oakland.
Santana (11-4) was charged with four runs—three earned—and seven hits over seven innings in his first start since pitching in his first All-Star game. He struck out eight and walked none.
In the fourth inning, Marte gave Cleveland a 2-1 lead with his second homer of the season. Blake made it 4-1 in the fifth with his 11th homer, a two-run shot that followed a one-out double by Grady Sizemore.
“Everything was good, but they have very hard hitters and that’s the way it goes,” Santana said. “I tried to work ahead every time. I just left a couple of pitches in the middle and that’s why I got hurt.”
Peralta made it 5-1 in the eighth, homering on Speier’s first pitch.
Angels CF Torii Hunter left the club after the game to be with his ailing grandmother. He is expected to rejoin the team Friday at Baltimore. … Santana has allowed 14 homers this season. Speier has given up 10 in 39 2-3 innings of relief. … The Indians plan to activate RHP Fausto Carmona from the DL on Saturday and start him against Minnesota. Carmona, a 19-game winner last season, has been sidelined since May 24 with a left hip strain. … The Angels announced that RHP Kelvim Escobar’s shoulder surgery has been scheduled for July 29 in New York. Escobar, who won 18 games last season, hasn’t pitched off a big league mound since Game 2 of the AL division series.