CLEVELAND — One day after the Indians snapped their longest losing streak of the season, Ubaldo Jimenez did the same thing.
Jimenez won for the first time in more than a month, throwing six strong innings Thursday in leading Cleveland to a 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field.
“The Big U” struck out a season-high 10 batters while allowing three runs on eight hits, earning his first victory since July 7 against Tampa Bay. The lanky right-hander was 0-4 with an 8.42 ERA in five starts since.
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“Whatever happened in the past is in the past,” Jimenez said. “This was the best I’ve felt with my breaking ball and my fastball in a long time, so I’m happy with the way I pitched tonight.”
Jimenez (9-11, 5.25 ERA) exited with the Indians holding a 4-3 lead, which stood up when Tony Sipp, Vinnie Pestano and the now-beardless Chris Perez threw one scoreless inning apiece. It was the Tribe’s second consecutive win after losing 11 straight.
“This was a well-played ballgame and a team effort tonight,” Cleveland manager Manny Acta said. “It was good to see that in back-to-back games. We had a lot of quality at-bats from a lot of guys, and Ubaldo was the most aggressive with his fastball and had the best command I’ve seen so far out of him.
“Just a good all-around ballgame for us.”
After the Red Sox jumped out to a 3-1 lead on a Dustin Pedroia RBI single in the top of the fifth inning, the Indians came right back in the bottom half against starter Felix Doubront.
Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera doubled home Lou Marson with one out, while designated hitter Carlos Santana drove in Jason Donald to tie the game at 3.
Lefty specialist Andrew Miller replaced Doubront (10-6, 4.70 ERA), but Cleveland center fielder Michael Brantley greeted him with a go-ahead sacrifice fly to left field that scored Cabrera.
“Michael Brantley continues to be our savior in the middle of the lineup,” Acta said. “Miller came in lefty-on-lefty, throwing in the mid-90s from the side, but Michael still managed to get the sac fly off him.”
The Indians added an insurance run in the eighth on a Donald fielder’s choice off reliever Craig Breslow, bringing around Ezequiel Carrera.
Donald was recalled from Triple A-Columbus earlier in the day and was a late addition to the lineup when second baseman Jason Kipnis developed a sore neck. He led off the game with a home run.
“There’s no better way to get back into it than going right out there and playing,” said Donald, who went 1-for-4 with two runs, two RBIs and a stolen base. “It was pretty surprising, but I’ve been here before so I was more relaxed than you might think in that situation.”
The Tribe’s fine work on the mound occurred just hours after the firing of pitching coach Scott Radinsky.
Clippers pitching coach Ruben Niebla was named his interim replacement, but did not arrive at Progressive Field in time for the game, forcing Cleveland bullpen coach Dave Miller to serve in the role on an interim interim basis.
“Rad did everything possible and was there for me every day,” Jimenez said softly. “I appreciate everything he did when he was here.”
Perez, who earned his 30th save, also was upset by Radinsky’s dismissal — and the epic 11-game skid that ultimately cost him his job.
“We want to win more than anybody, this is our job,” he said. “It was like a cancer, it looked like we forgot how to play ball, honestly.”
Jimenez’s only major mistake came in the fourth inning when first baseman Adrian Gonzalez smashed a two-run homer deep into the right-field stands, putting the Red Sox on top 2-1.
Jimenez exited following a leadoff double by Pedro Ciriaco in the seventh, but Sipp quelled the threat with the help of a nifty double play.
Pestano tossed the eighth and extended his scoreless-innings streak to 21 — the longest by a Tribe pitcher since Paul Assenmacher went 23⅓ in 1997 — and Perez became the fourth pitcher in team history to save 30 games in consecutive seasons (joining Doug Jones, Jose Mesa and Mike Jackson).
“Baseball is a game of adjustments,” Perez said of his clean-shaven look.
- WHO: Cleveland vs. Boston
- TIME: 7:05
- WHERE: Progressive Field
- PITCHERS: Seddon (0-0, 7.71 ERA) vs. Buchholz (9-3, 4.48)
- TV/RADIO: STO; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM
Contact Brian Dulik at firstname.lastname@example.org.