Perez Gets Save as Tribe Trips Tigers
CLEVELAND – Chris Perez, greeted by a standing ovation from the time he left the bullpen, worked another scary ninth inning for his 14th save as the Cleveland Indians ended a 10-game losing streak to Detroit with a 5-3 victory against the Tigers on Tuesday night.
Perez had been critical of recent booing during an appearance and called the Indians’ major league-worst attendance “an embarrassment” for a first-place club. He put two runners on in the ninth before striking out Miguel Cabrera and then getting Prince Fielder on a grounder to short.
Perez hasn’t blown a save since opening day.
Ubaldo Jimenez (5-3) cautiously worked through the meat of Detroit’s lineup and lasted six innings as the first-place Indians beat the AL Central favorites and Rick Porcello (4-3).
Travis Hafner had two RBIs for the Indians, who hadn’t beaten the Tigers since Aug. 10 last season.
With Cleveland leading 5-3, Perez jogged in from the bullpen as Prodigy’s “Firestarter” boomed from Progressive Field’s loudspeakers. There wasn’t a single boo to be heard as the right-hander kicked the dirt around the rubber.
After getting one out, he walked Ramon Santiago and when Andy Dirks followed with a single, the 15,049 fans – many of them Detroit backers – grew restless. But Perez fanned Cabrera looking, punctuating his strikeout with a fist pump. He then retired Fielder on a grounder to short, and as fireworks erupted overhead, Perez slapped hands with catcher Carlos Santana before heading to the dugout.
Alex Avila hit a three-run homer for the Tigers, who slammed shut Cleveland’s playoff hopes last season by winning the final 10 games between the AL Central rivals.
Before Perez came on, Vinnie Pestano worked a perfect eighth, striking out Avila to end the inning. Pestano set a team record for a reliever by striking out at least one batter in 22 consecutive outings since Sept. 25.
ORIOLES 4, RED SOX 1
BALTIMORE (AP) – Brian Matusz allowed two hits and struck out nine in 6 1-3 innings, Steve Tolleson and Wilson Betemit hit two-run homers, and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox
YANKEES 3, ROYALS 2
NEW YORK (AP) – Robinson Cano homered, Phil Hughes beat Kansas City for the second time this month and New York Yankees eked out a victory.
RAYS 8, BLUE JAYS 5
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – Slumping Carlos Pena hit a three-run homer during a five-run fourth and Tampa Bay beat Toronto.
TWINS 9, WHITE SOX 2
CHICAGO (AP) – P.J. Walters tossed his first career complete game and Justin Morneau hit a three-run homer as Minnesota routed Chicago.
Walters, who gave up a solo homer to Gordon Beckham with one out in the first inning, threw a five-hitter.
In just his third start of the season, Walters (2-1) struck out eight and walked two.
The Twins jumped all over Gavin Floyd (3-5), scoring four runs in the second inning and five in the fourth. Morneau’s homer chased the right-hander, who is 0-8 against Minnesota in his last eight starts, dating to Aug. 31, 2009.
Josh Willingham and Alexi Casilla both drove in two runs for the Twins.