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Jimenez, Giambi combine to lead Indians over Rays

The SportsXchange

CLEVELAND -- The turnaround was short, and both teams knew it would be.

"Last night they handled it better than us. Today we beat them," said Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona after his team snapped Tampa Bay's six-game winning streak with a 5-0 victory Saturday at Progressive Field.

Cleveland pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Vinnie Pestano combined on a four-hit shutout. It's the fourth shutout of the season for Indians pitchers, the most in the American League.

The game was a test for players on both teams who were back on the field Saturday barely 10 hours after the last out of their Friday game, which because of five hours' worth of rain delays didn't end until 2:53 a.m. ET Saturday.

"Our guys legitimately were tired today and I don't blame them," said Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon. "I really respected their effort. It was a tough day to come back and play this game. We'll get a good night's sleep and come back and do well tomorrow."

"Our game plan today was to score runs quick because we knew both teams would be exhausted," said Cleveland designated hitter Jason Giambi, who admitted that at age 42, he feels the effect of a short night more than his teammates.

"I feel like Pinocchio with no strings," he said.

Giambi followed that quick-strike game plan by belting a two-run home run off Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer, the eighth starting pitcher used by the Rays in their last 17 games, giving the Indians an early 2-0 lead in the second inning.

"After a long night last night, to come out and get it started like that is great," said Indians first baseman Nick Swisher.

Asked if it was difficult to be playing baseball Saturday on short sleep, Swisher said, "No. It's part of the job."

Giambi and Asdrubal Cabrera both belted two-run home runs for Cleveland. Giambi, who is 5-for-9 with three home runs in his last three games, added an RBI single, and that was plenty for Jimenez, who in eight shutout innings struck out seven and walked one.

"We knew coming into the game the only two guys not tired would be the two starting pitchers," said Cleveland manager Terry Francona. "Ubaldo was terrific. He just kept putting up zeros."

Jimenez said he was permitted to leave the ballpark at 8:30 p.m. Friday night so he could get a full night's sleep before his Saturday start.

"I watched the first four innings on TV and then went to bed," Jimenez said.

Tampa Bay, which had 11 hits, five for extra bases and three of those home runs on Friday, couldn't do much with Jimenez, who threw 108 pitches, 72 of them strikes in giving the Cleveland bullpen a much-needed break. The Indians used five relievers in Friday's game, but only one on Saturday, Vinnie Pestano, who pitched the ninth inning.

"They have a very good lineup, but I was able to get some guys to hit the ball on the ground," said Jimenez, who picked up his first win since May 11, improving his record to 4-3 and lowering his ERA to 4.83.

"Everything is crisp. He's much more confident. He knows he can pitch in the strike zone and get outs," Francona said.

Giambi, also added an RBI single as Cleveland bounced back from getting one-hit by four Tampa Bay pitchers in a 9-2 loss on Friday.

Swisher led off the bottom of the second inning with a walk and Giambi belted his fifth home run into the seats in right field. In the third inning Jason Kipnis doubled and scored on a single to right by Giambi making it a 3-0 Cleveland lead.

In the fifth inning Kipnis led off with a single and Cabrera followed with a long home run over the wall in right field, his fifth home run of the year.

Archer (0-1), who was originally drafted and signed by the Indians, pitched four innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. He struck out four and walked three.

The Rays only got two base runners as far as second base against Jimenez. The closest Tampa Bay came to scoring was in the seventh inning when Desmond Jennings doubled with one out. But Jimenez pitched out of that jam by striking out Luke Scott and retiring Ryan Roberts on a fly ball to center.

Cleveland got two hits each from Kipnis, Giambi and Mike Aviles

Notes: Prior to the game the Indians selected the contract of right-handed reliever Matt Langwell from Triple-A Columbus. ... The Indians prior to the game also optioned left-hander Scott Barnes to Columbus. In seven relief appearances with the Indians Barnes was 0-1 with a 7.27 ERA. ... Friday night's game, which was delayed by rain three times for a total of nearly five hours, ended at 2:53 a.m. ET Saturday. That's the latest any game has ended in Tampa Bay history. ... Rays first baseman James Loney's two-homer game on Friday was the third multihomer game of his career, the first since Sept. 7, 2007, with the Dodgers, at San Francisco.
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