Grady Sizemore Returns To Indians' Lineup Against Orioles, Has One Of Three Tribe Homers; Cleveland Sweeps, 4-2

Baltimore comes to town after frustrating stay in New York

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Another Sweep Has Tribe Alone In First Place At 11-4

The Indians had just enough power and plenty enough pitching this afternoon, and the end result was the third sweep of the season in only five series played, as the Tribe beat Baltimore at Progressive Field, 4-2, giving Fausto Carmona his first win of the season and sending the Orioles to their seventh straight defeat.

Carlos Santana and Travis Hafner homered for the Indians, and that was good enough — especially for Santana, trying to bust out of a slump. But the biggest news of the day was that Grady Sizemore returned to the lineup for the first time since last May and also homered, in his second at bat of the season. It was Sizemore’s first jack since August of 2009 and gave the Tribe a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Sizemore also doubled in the fifth, and his two hits matched Hafner’s two, as the Indians made the most of seven hits in total, beating Baltimore’s Brad Bergesen (0-2, 3.38 ERA).

After Santana went deep in the second with his second round-tripper of 2011, and Sizemore doubled the lead in the third, the Orioles got a run back in the fourth against Carmona (1-2, 4.74 ERA), when the first two hitters reached on base hits. But Carmona made a good pitch to get Derrek Lee to hit into a double play, with a run scoring but clearing the bases. In other words, minimizing the damage.

The Tribe got that run right back in the bottom of the fourth when Travis Buck singled in Orlando Cabrera to make it 3-1. Cabrera was only in scoring position because of being able to take second when Mark Reynolds misplayed Cabrera’s hit, and Buck came through in the clutch.

It stayed 3-1 until the sixth, when Hafner hit homer number four of the year off of Jeremy Accardo.

In the seventh, Baltimore got an unearned run when the first two hitters reached and moved up on an error by Shin-Soo Choo in right field. The Orioles capitalized with a sac fly off the bat of Luke Scott, but that was all Baltimore could get.

Carmona’s line was excellent for the third straight start. In seven innings, Fausto allowed two runs — only one earned — on five hits, walking one and striking out five on 101 pitches.

Tony Sipp, who has been perfect as a set-up man so far this season, allowed a hit in the eighth but did not allow a run. Sipp has now pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings and has six “holds” on the season.

Then Chris Perez came out and shut the Orioles down one-two-three in the ninth for his fifth save of the season. Perez has now gone 7 1/3 innings and has surrendered only two hits and no runs on the year.

What a one-two punch at the back end of the pen!

Cleveland now goes to Kansas City to take on the Royals in a four-game set. The Indians were able to claim sole possession of first place late this afternoon when the Royals lost to Seattle, leaving K.C. at 10-5 and a full game behind the Tribe. Thus, a mere split of the set in Kansas City would leave Cleveland in first, as nobody else in the division is close enough to “catch” the Indians should they win two of their next four.

But we wouldn’t mind three-of-four. Or (dare we wish for it?) another sweep. But we won’t get ahead of ourselves.

For now, it feels good enough to say that Your Cleveland Indians are the leaders of the American League Central.

Go Tribe!

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Sizemore And Santana Homer; Indians Four Innings From Another Sweep, Leading 3-1

Grady Sizemore returned to the Indians’ lineup for the first time in a game that counts since last May this afternoon, and after being retired in his first plate appearance, Grady showed a resourceful method of avoiding strain on his surgically-repaired knee in his second at-bat…when in doubt, hit it out.

Carlos Santana led off the second inning with a homer to give the Tribe a 1-0 lead, and Sizemore’s blast in the third put the Indians up by a pair.

The fourth inning was a crucial inning and Fausto Carmona handled it like — well, like an ace.

After Brian Roberts led off with a single and moved to third on a hit by Nick Markakis, Carmona induced a double-play grounder off the bat of Derrek Lee, which scored a run but at the same time made sure that any damage in the inning would be minimal. Lee does not get credit for an RBI, as one is not awarded on a GIDP.

Then, in the Indians’ fourth, Orlando Cabrera reached on a two-out single and when to second on an error on the play by third baseman Mark Reynolds. Travis Buck then singled, and although he was thrown out at second, Cabrera scored, giving The Good Guys a 3-1 lead.

Carmona then cruised through the fifth. In those five innings, Carmona has allowed only those back-to-back hits in the fourth, with four strikeouts and no walks on only 64 pitches.

For the Orioles, Brad Bergesen is still out there, but his pitch-count is getting high and it won’t be long until the Indians see the Baltimore pen in the game.

Twelve more outs to the third sweep of the season in five series. That, my friends, is championship-caliber baseball.

Can we get that sweep today? Check back later for a full recap of the last game of this abbreviated homestand.

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Grady Sizemore Back In Indians' Lineup Against Orioles; Mitch Talbot to DL

The Cleveland Indians are one of the surprise teams in baseball starting the season 10-4, their best start since 2002. They received more good news today when Grady Sizemore was activated – returning after missing nearly a year with a knee injury that required microfracture surgery last summer.

Sizemore last played in May 2010, and has played just 139 games the past two seasons. Sizemore’s return means that Michael Brantley will move to left field – and drop in the batting order.

To make room for Sizermore, the Indians placed starter Mitch Talbot on the Disabled list with a strained right elbow. Talbot last pitched on Monday, throwing 8 shutout innings agaist the LA Angels in a 4-0 Indians win.

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Only Member Of The Rotation Without A Win Needs Some Runs Today

For all of their success so far this season, there is one thing that the Indians have not been able to do — score a single run when Fausto Carmona has actually been in a game.

Even in the season opener, when the Tribe tallied ten, Cleveland was on its way to falling behind by 14 runs when Carmona was lifted, and of course the offense had not begun their comeback to making the final respectable until after Carmona was gone.

Then there was Carmona’s second start, against the Red Sox. In that one he left after seven innings in a 0-0 tie: a game the Tribe eventually won 1-0.

And in his last start, Carmona went 7 2/3 innings and got the loss as Dan Haren shut the Indians down, 2-0.

Solution? Simple — score some runs today, and maybe you can get your number one starter win number one.

I’d say it would be about time for something like that to happen.

Since seeing his ERA at 30.00 after Opening Day, Carmona has worked 14 2/3 innings and has allowed just two runs and six hits in that time, both of the runs coming on solo homers from the Angels. Carmona’s ERA is down to 6.11, but that 0-2 record looks out of place.

The Tribe will try to make life easier for Carmona today against Brad Bergesen, who will be making his third appearance of the season for the Orioles. Bergesen was sent down to the minors after his first appearance after giving up four runs in less than four innings, then was recalled in time to pitch two scoreless innings against the Yankees in relief in his second appearance on Wednesday in New York.

Bergesen (0-1, 3.18 ERA) beat the Indians in August in Cleveland with a two-hitter, winning 3-1 for his second career complete game. If he shows that kind of stuff today, it could be deja-vu all over again.

Let’s hope that this time might be different.

The Indians have certainly set up for a strong Sunday with the bats, totaling 16 runs and collecting 25 hits in their sixteen innings of offense in this series so far. And it may well be that the news that Grady Sizemore may be activated in the next day or two may be an added boost of adrenaline for the team. Of course, a different spot in the lineup and position will have to be found for Michael Brantley, who is hitting .302, should Sizemore immediately step into the lead-off spot in center field. We will see how that all plays out soon.

After this game the Tribe goes back on the road for four in Kansas City and three in Minnesota. The series against the Royals is going to be a battle for first place.

Who would have thought we’d be saying that in the third week of the season?

But first things first — let’s get Fausto Carmona that first win today, and make it three sweeps in five series so far this year.

Game-time at Progressive Field is at 1:05. This one should start on time, unlike yesterday’s rain-delayed contest.

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Indians Keep Pace With Kansas City, Move To 10-4; Orlando Cabrera Leads The Way With 4 RBI

It took a long time to get it started, but in the end it was well worth the wait, as the Indians, for the second straight game, scored eight runs against the Orioles staff.

Orlando Cabrera drove in four runs, Shin-Soo Choo homered, Josh Tomlin won his third straight start, and even Chad Durbin joined the fun with a scoreless ninth inning, as the Tribe sent Baltimore to its sixth straight defeat with an 8-3 win at Progressive Field.

Tomlin (3-0, 2.75) delivered yet another quality start for the Indians and matched Justin Masterson for the club lead in victories. All that from a starter who wasn’t even assured of a rotation spot until late in spring training.

The home run battle in today’s contest ended at 2-2, with Jake Fox and Luke Scott hitting solo shots off of Tomlin, and Shin-Soo Choo hitting a solo shot and Orlando Cabrera a two-run blast for the Tribe. Cabrera’s homer pretty much put the game away, giving the Indians their final margin in the bottom of the seventh.

Orlando Cabrera duplicated what Asdrubal Cabrera had achieved on Friday night, driving in four runs. Matt LaPorta drove in a pair and Choo and Travis Buck each drove in a run as the Indians pounded out 13 hits, giving them 25 hits in only sixteen innings in this series.

The victim of the bulk of the Tribe’s damage today was Jeremy Guthrie, who — like last night’s Baltimore starter, Zach Britton — came in with an ERA of well under a run per nine innings and saw that number swell to 3.32. Guthrie gave up six runs on ten hits in five innings of work, allowing Choo’s homer.

Orlando Cabrera’s two-run jack to the home-run porch came off of Michael Gonzalez.

After Tomlin escaped a couple of jams — one in the fifth and one in the sixth — he was pulled after 79 pitches. Tomlin issued no free passes, and surrendered six hits, striking out four.

Vinnie Pestano came on in the seventh and had a nervous inning, but one that could have been a whole lot worse.

Jake Fox opened the seventh with a triple, and after a walk, Brian Roberts made it 6-3 Cleveland with a base hit which left the Orioles one big swing from tying the game, and with two on and nobody out.

Then Pestano bore down.

Pestano got Nick Markakis to ground into a double play, then struck out Derrek Lee, and just like that the inning was over and the Tribe still led by three. Then, in the bottom half, O. Cabrera hit his two-run homer and it was all over but the drying, so to speak, after a game which was delayed at the start for over two hours.

Tony Sipp surrendered a lead-off hit in the eighth and also issued a walk, but escaped unscathed to keep his ERA at 0.00, and Chad Durbin — the losing pitcher on Wednesday in Anaheim — finished up, also surrendering a lead-off hit but then retiring the final three hitters of the game, striking out one.

The paid attendance at Progressive Field was 10,714, but it is hard to grouse about the crowd-count at this one, which looked for a while as if it might be washed out. It was a damp, chilly and windy day, and perhaps, if the weather is better tomorrow, the numbers in the seats might reflect it.

The Indians’ victory leaves them tied with Kansas City, which just keeps on winning. Both teams are 10-4 on the season, and after tomorrow’s games, the Tribe is off to face the Royals in a most-unlikely battle for first place in a four-game set.

Let’s take care of business tomorrow, get our third sweep of the season, and go to K.C. seven games over .500

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Josh Tomlin Minimizes The Damage, Tribe Leads By Four Headed To The Seventh

The Indians have been shut down in the middle innings this afternoon at Progressive Field, but Tribe starter Josh Tomlin managed to keep Baltimore in the rear-view mirror by stifling two Orioles’ rallies — including a truly crucial shut-down in the fifth inning — and Cleveland leads 6-2 as we head to the seventh.

Baltimore got their second run on their second hit of the game in the fifth — and their second home run, a blast off the bat of Luke Scott. But that was not the end of the inning, an inning where Baltimore threatened to get right back in the game.

The Orioles loaded the bases, still with only one out, but then Tomlin retired Dave Roberts on a shallow fly ball to left and got Nick Markakis to ground out to first, ending the threat.

A marvelous job there of keeping the damage to a minimum and leaving the Tribe’s lead at 6-2.

Again in the sixth, the Orioles put two on — this time with two outs — and again, Tomlin was able to get out of the inning, this time retiring Mark Reynolds.

As we go to the seventh, Vinnie Pestano is on in relief of Tomlin, who allowed two runs and six hits, walking none and fanning four.

The Indians have collected eleven hits, but have been kept off the board since their four-run outburst in the third inning.

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Indians' Bats Not Dampened By The Rain-Delay; Tribe Up 6-1 After Three

Any thought that the Indians’ hitters might be a little water-logged after a long delay to the start of this afternoon’s game against Baltimore was put to rest quickly, as the Tribe scored two in the second and four times in the third, and Cleveland leads the Orioles 6-1 headed to the fourth.

After a scoreless first inning, the Tribe struck in the second. Carlos Santana led off with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. Travis Hafner followed with a single, putting runners at the corners, and Orlando Cabrera plated the game’s first run with a fielder’s-choice grounder. Travis Buck followed with a single, then Matt LaPorta doubled, scoring Cabrera and making it 2-0.

The Indians could have scored more in the second, but Baltimore’s Jeremy Guthrie toughened and struck out Jack Hannahan and Michael Brantley, stranding two runners in scoring position.

The Orioles got a run back in the top of the third. With one out, Jake Fox hit his first home run for Baltimore — also the first base-runner allowed by Josh Tomlin — to cut the margin to 2-1, but the Indians responded in a big way in the bottom of the inning.

After Asdrubal Cabrera grounded out leading off, Shin-Soo Choo blasted his second homer of the year to left, restoring the two-run margin. But the Tribe was far from done.

Carlos Santana flied out for the second out of the inning, but then Hafner doubled, Orlando Cabrera drove Hafner home with his second RBI of the game, a base hit that plated a run with Cabrera taking second after the throw. Then Buck doubled, making it 5-1, and LaPorta singled in the fourth run of the inning, giving the Tribe a healthy margin going to the middle innings.

Tomlin has been strong so far, allowing just the one hit, walking none, as yet another strong pitching performance is giving the Indians a chance to keep pace with Kansas City, which moved to 10-4 this afternoon with their third straight win over Seattle.

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Indians Send Baltimore To Fifth Straight Loss; 12-Hit Attack Backs Justin Masterson Gem

The Indians broke out of their two-game funk in a big way tonight, while at the same time extending Baltimore’s misery to five games, as Cleveland rode seven innings of one-run ball from Justin Masterson, a homer from Travis Hafner and four RBI from Asdrubal Cabrera to cruise at Progressive Field, 8-2, in the opener of a three-game weekend series.

Masterson moved to 3-0 on the season and lowered his ERA to 1.33, surrendering four hits — three of them in the fourth inning — and a walk to go with three strikeouts to take over the team lead in victories.

Cleveland scored four in the third off of Zach Britton; plenty enough to send Britton (2-1, 2.75) to his first major league loss.

Lou Marson drove in Matt LaPorta, who had led off with a triple, to score the first run of the game. Asdrubal Cabrera plated two more runs with a bases-loaded single, and Travis Hafner sent the fourth run in the inning home with a sac fly.

Baltimore bunched three hits together in the fourth and scored on a single from Luke Scott to make it 4-1.

It stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth, when Hafner slugged his third round-tripper of the season to right-center. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, the Indians put the game away with three more runs.

Matt LaPorta ignited this rally as well with a lead-off single off of Baltimore reliever Josh Rupe. Lou Marson grounded into a fielder’s choice, but then Adam Everett singled, Michael Brantley walked, and the bases were loaded for Droobs, who came through again with a two-run single to make it 7-1. Shin-Soo Choo then sent home the final run of the game for the Tribe with a double, and it was all over except for getting through the final six outs.

Rafael Perez came on for the Tribe in the eighth, ending Masterson’s night after 90 pitches. Perez allowed a lead-off single but got a twin-killing with one out to end the inning, keeping his ERA at 0.00 on the season.

Joe Smith made his first appearance of the season after replacing Frank Herrmann on the roster. In a shaky ninth, Smith gave up three hits and hit a batter, and surrendered an RBI single to Mark Reynolds, but Smith was able to close the game with a strikeout, and the Indians found themselves at 9-4, and a half-game ahead of the Royals, pending the result of Kansas City’s game against Seattle in K.C.

The Tribe will be right back at it tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 with Josh Tomlin looking to join Masterson at 3-0 against the OriolesJeremy Guthrie.

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Masterson Is Being Masterful Again, Tribe Restores Four-Run Cushion On Pronk's Homer

The Baltimore Orioles, after allowing four runs in the third inning, immediately rallied in the fourth off of Justin Masterson, but Masterson minimized the damage and then kept the Orioles off the board in the fifth and sixth innings, and Travis Hafner’s two-out drive to right-center in the bottom of the sixth has restored the Indians’ lead to four runs. Cleveland leads 5-1 headed to the seventh.

Brian Roberts led off the fourth with Baltimore’s first hit. A fielder’s choice out from Nick Markakis preceded a Derrek Lee single, and then, with two outs, Luke Scott plated an Orioles’ run with a base hit. Masterson bore down with runners at the corners and retired Adam Jones to leave the Tribe’s lead at 4-1, and it stayed that way until the sixth.

In the top of the sixth Robers again led off with a hit, and Lee once again reached with one out, on Masterson’s first walk of the night, but Justin retired Vladimir Guerrero and Luke Scott to get out of the inning without any damage being done.

In the bottom half of the same inning. Hafner hit his drive out of the park to right-center, and heading to the last three innings, the Indians are nine outs shy of ending their two-game slide and dealing Baltimore its fifth straight loss.

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Indians Break Through In The Third, Take The Early Lead 4-0

At the rate this game was going, any chance of getting caught in the rain that is heading for Cleveland looked pretty much to be going by the wayside.

Until the Indians slowed the game down in a most-pleasant way in the bottom of the third.

Justin Masterson has waltzed through the Orioles’ lineup the first time through, allowing no base-runners and striking out one in an economical 31 pitches.

Masterson was being matched pitch-for-pitch in the first two innings by Baltimore’s rookie left-hander Zach Britton, but Matt LaPorta led off the bottom of the third with a triple and scored on a single from Lou Marson. Adam Everett followed with a base hit — terrific production from the bottom third of the lineup. Then Michael Brantley loaded the bases with a bunt single.

Asdrubal Cabrera plated two with a single, making it 3-0 Tribe and leaving runners at first and second, still with nobody out after the fifth hit of the inning. (Meanwhile the pitchers from Wednesday are heard in the bullpen saying “Hey, where was all this the other night?”)

Shin-Soo Choo singled next, the SIXTH straight hit off what must be becoming a shell-shocked Britton, loading the bases once again. But Britton struck out clean-up hitter Shelley Duncan for the first out. Travis Hafner followed with a fly ball deep enough to score Brantley and to get Asdrubal Cabrera to third, making it 4-0, but Cabrera was caught leaving second base too early on an appeal, and the inning — mercifully for the Orioles — was over.

Now to see Justin Masterson come out and slam the door on the Orioles in the fourth.

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Baltimore Visits Progressive Field After Frustrating Night In The Bronx

The Indians might well feel a little deflated after the last two games of their West Coast trip, but looking at that trip as a whole, it was still a success, as Cleveland followed a 4-2 season-opening homestand with a 4-2 road trip. And of course it is an axiom in baseball that teams hope to go .500 on the road and clean up at home.

So far, in a small sampling of games, the Tribe is ahead of the curve.

On the other hand, this weekend’s opponent — the Baltimore Orioles — have to be a little frustrated, after dropping two straight in New York in a rain-shortened series against the Yankees. Last night’s game was particularly tough, as Baltimore had a 5-0 lead in the fifth, only to see New York battle all the way back, finally tying the game in the bottom of the ninth on a home run off of the Orioles’ closer, Kevin Gregg, and then winning it in the bottom of the tenth, giving Baltimore four straight losses since a 6-1 start.

However, it is not going to be easy for the Indians this weekend, as Baltimore is sending a trio of pitchers with low ERA’s, including a rookie tonight who is undefeated and has an ERA well under 1.00.

Zach Britton is that rookie. In two games this season — the only two games of his major league career — Britton is 2-0 with an 0.66 ERA. The first of those wins came against Tampa Bay on April 3, when Britton went six innings and gave up only one run on three hits and was the winner in his big league debut.

The next time out Britton was even more impressive. In 7 2/3 innings he allowed only four hits and no runs to the Texas Rangers, who can put runs on the board in a hurry. But Britton solved the Rangers and the Indians will have to make the most of opportunities tonight, unlike what they did — or didn’t do — in their 12-inning loss to the Angels on Wednesday.

The Tribe will counter with Justin Masterson, who has also gotten out of the gate fast in 2011. Masterson has defeated the White Sox and the Mariners, amassing 13 1/3 innings of work and allowing two earned runs on eleven hits for a 1.35 ERA. Masterson has walked only three and has fanned nine in the early going of the season, and has to be counted as a pleasant surprise.

Britton’s strikeout numbers are not overpowering — eight K’s in his nearly 14 innings — but these two pitchers, thus far, have been very similar in their results, and in how they achieved those results.

The opener of this someone-has-to-bust-out-of-their-losing-streak series should be a good one. Let us hope that, at the end of the evening, it will be The Good Guys celebrating as they leave the field.

Let us also hope that a few thousand more fans show up than showed up for their last five home games.

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Indians Drop Final Two Games In Anaheim To Make A 4-2 Trip Taste Sour

The Indians, who had been playing so well during their eight-game winning streak, were undone last night by a fantastic pitching performance and tonight by failure to execute and a shoddy final inning out of the bullpen.

Jeff Mathis plated the winning run with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the twelfth inning, scoring Vernon Wells and giving the Los Angeles Angels a 4-3 victory over the Tribe, who really could use a day off after this one.

The winning pitcher for the Angels was Hisanori Takahashi (1-0), who hurled two perfect innings of relief, while the loser was Chad Durbin (0-1), who came on in the twelfth, retired the first hitter, then allowed an infield single, a walk, a wild pitch followed by an intentional walk to set up a double play, or at least a force at any base, and, finally, the game-winning fly ball.

The loss spoiled a gutsy start from Carlos Carrasco, who allowed three runs in the fourth but toughed his way through seven innings, surrendering just those three runs and five hits, walking two and K'ing five.

Vinnie Pestano, Tony Sipp and Chris Perez were brilliant in relief, combining for four hitless, shutout innings and only one walk to go with four strikeouts.

That set up the twelfth.

The Indians had tied the game in the eighth inning on a ground out, but the Tribe’s bats went to sleep after that, and coupled with the plethora of scoring chances gone by the wayside in the earlier innings (recounted in previous updates), the end result saw Cleveland fall to 8-4 on the season.

The Indians remain in first place by a half-game over the Royals and by a full game over Chicago, which had a gut-wrenching loss of their own today.

Even so — first place or not — this one hurts, and it is to be hoped that it will not be looked back at as the game which started a decline for the Tribe.

After a day off tomorrow, the Indians return to action on Friday night at Progressive Field against the Baltimore Orioles.

Let’s hope that the hangover from this tortuous loss will have worn off by then.

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Indians Wasting Chances Big-Time, Angels Lead After Six, 3-2

This is starting to look like one of Those Games, the kind that make you want to eat your TV, or your radio, or your keyboard.

It began unraveling when the Indians wasted a golden opportunity in the top of the fourth, and it immediately came back to bite them in the bottom of the inning. Shin-Soo Choo singled leading off, and stole second. After a walk to Carlos Santana, Choo went to third on a wild pitch, setting up runners at the corners with nobody down.

But then Travis Hafner fanned, and Orlando Cabrera hit into a double play on a ball which deflected off of pitcher Ervin Santana.

Of course, in the bottom half, Howie Kendrick doubled leading off and scored on the same play on an error by Asdrubal Cabrera. Obviously shaken, Carlos Carrasco walked Bobby Abreu. Torii Hunter then took Carrasco deep, and the Tribe was down 3-1.

The Indians got a run back in the fifth when, with two outs, Adam Everett singled and scored on a double from Michael Brantley.

After Carrasco shut the Angels down in the bottom of the fifth, the Indians wasted another chance in the sixth with the same basic cast of characters from the wasted chance in the fourth.

Shin-Soo Choo walked leading off the sixth, and again stole second base. A ground out from Carlos Santana moved Choo to third, but then Hafner struck out again, and this time Choo was picked off at third on a throw from catcher Hank Conger.

Carrasco, to his credit, did not allow the Angels to jump on the Indians’ wasted chance this time, and after shutting down Los Angeles in the bottom of the sixth, the game heads to the seventh with L.A. up 3-2.

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Tribe Scores Early; Leads Angels 1-0 After Three Innings

The Indians took two batters to equal their total of hits last night against Dan Haren, and took three batters to do what they could not do against Haren — score a run.

Asdrubal Cabrera tripled with one out in the first and scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Shin-Soo Choo, and so far Carlos Carrasco has made it stand up, as the Tribe leads the Los Angeles Angels 1-0 after three innings in Anaheim.

The Indians have totaled two hits thus far against Ervin Santana, while the Angels have a single base hit against Carrasco, who has walked one and fanned three on 38 pitches thus far. The free pass was immediately erased on a third-inning double play.

This third and final game of the series will determine the series’ winner, as the teams have split the first two games, both of which were shutouts. The Tribe won 4-0 on Monday night, and the Angels came back last night to win 2-0.

Cleveland will head home after this game, and after a day off tomorrow, will face Baltimore on Friday evening.

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Tribe Sends Carlos Carrasco Tonight At 7:05 To Try To Win Rubber Game Of Series

Sometimes, as the saying goes, you just tip your cap to the other guy and move on.

That is the case for the Indians after they were shut down by Dan Haren on one hit last night in Anaheim, as the Los Angeles Angels pulled even in this three-game set with a 2-0 victory over Fausto Carmona and the Tribe.

The lone Cleveland hit was a fourth-inning single off the bat of Shin-Soo Choo, while the only runs in the game scored on a pair of Angels’ solo homers.

Tonight, at 7:05, Carlos Carrasco gets the call for the Indians after leading the Indians to a win in Seattle in his last start, where he held the Mariners to one run and four hits. Carrasco (1-1, 5.68 ERA) will be opposed by Ervin Santana (0-1, 3.68 ERA), who will be making his third start of the season, having had a no-decision in his first appearance against the Royals and then taking the loss in a 3-2 Blue Jays’ victory over Los Angeles last Friday.

In two games this season, Santana has allowed six runs in 14 2/3 innings, striking out thirteen and walking three. For his career, Santana is 76-56 with a 4.39 ERA. Last year he was an impressive 17-10 with a 3.92 ERA.

In other words, it will be another tough opponent on the mound today, especially since the 7:05 start means that it will be only 4:05 on the west coast — a time of day which generally favors the pitchers, if it is sunny, as shadows play havoc on hitters’ depth perception.

Carrasco has allowed 14 hits and eight runs in 12 2/3 innings, walking five and fanning eight.

The Indians will be off tomorrow before returning to action on Friday evening at Progressive Field against the Baltimore Orioles, so let’s hope we can get this win, end the road trip at 5-1 and on a positive note, and not come home with two straight losses and a day off to mull over losing momentum.

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Indians Vs. Angels Score: Dan Haren Shuts Down Indians 2-0

They say good pitching beats good hitting. It also ends a good winning streak. Angels pitcher Dan Haren went the distance allowing just one hit to beat the Cleveland Indians 2-0 Tuesday night in Anaheim.

“I felt really good warming up in the pen,” Haren said. “I was able to mix up my pitches and keep the ball down. I went at them all night.”

It took Haren just 125 pitches to mow down the Indians – he struck out 8 while walking just two.

Overshadowed in the loss was another strong outing by Indians starter Fausto Carmona. Carmona gave up 2 runs – both solo home runs – in 7 2/3 innings It was Carmona’s second strong start in a row after he was blasted on Opening Day by the Chicago White Sox.

“Well pitched ball game on both sides,” Indians manager Manny Acta said. “Haren was on his game, (Carmona) did his job and was very good, unfortunately Haren was too good.”

The series concludes at 7:05PM et tonight with the Indians sending Carlos Carrasco(1-1, 5.68) up against Ervin Santana(0-1, 3.68)

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PREVIEW: Indians Have A Tough Task In Quest For Nine-In-A-Row

The Indians have won eight straight games after their 4-0 win over the Angels last night in the opener of their three-game series in Anaheim, and -- as so often during this streak -- pitching has been the catalyst that has sent the Tribe to victory.

Another outstanding effort from a starter -- preferably one to match Mitch Talbot's last night -- will probably be needed to extend the streak tonight.

Fausto Carmona (0-1, 9.00 ERA) gets the start for the Indians against Los Angeles' Dan Haren (2-0, 1.15 ERA), who was originally scheduled to start last night. Haren, however, worked an inning -- getting the win -- in the Angels' 14-inning Saturday victory over Toronto, and was thus held back until tonight, although the inning did come on a day when starters usually throw between starts anyhow.

Be that as it may, Carmona will have to be tough tonight, and it is possible that we could see a game very similar to the game we saw in his last start. Fausto went against the Red Sox last Wednesday afternoon, pitching seven shutout innings but not getting a decision in a game won by the Tribe 1-0, with the game's only run scoring in the bottom of the eighth.

Carmona was brilliant against Boston after being shelled by Chicago in the season opener. Against the Red Sox, in his seven innings, Carmona surrendered only two hits, while walking two and striking out four. It was the first time in almost a hundred years that a pitcher allowed ten earned runs in one game and came back with shutout ball for at least seven innings in his next start.

Dan Haren, in his second season with the Angels, has gotten out of the gate fast. In three games -- two as a starter -- Haren has surrendered only ten hits in 15 2/3 innings, and has given up only two runs, while striking out 13 and not allowing a walk. Haren has worked at least seven innings in each of his two starts, and in each gave up only one earned run.

So it is game on for the Tribe to try to win their fifth straight on this road trip. It won't be easy. But if Fausto Carmona can come out with what he had last Wednesday against the potent Red Sox -- we might see another pitching duel.

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Indians Vs. Angels Score: Matt LaPorta Hits 3-Run Homer In 4-0 Win Over Angels

Matt LaPorta hit a 3-run home run while Josh Tomlin pitched into the 9th inning leading the Cleveland Indians to a 4-0 win over the LA Angels of Anaheim.  The win was the Tribe's 8th straight, their longest since August 2008.  At 8-2, the Indians are off to their best start since 2002 - a prime reason fans should temper their enthusiasm.

"Getting runs early helped," Talbot said. "I was a little more aggressive after that. I was locating my fastball and I am thrilled going eight shutout innings, but I really wanted to finish because my parents were here."

Tyler Chatwood (0-1) was charged for all four runs on four hits while walking four in his major league debut. Chatwood got the start because expected pitcher Dan Haren came in for relief during the Angels' 14-inning win over Toronto on Saturday.

"(Chatwood) got into a lot of hitting counts," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He just couldn't get it in the zone and it hurt him in the second inning."

Michael Brantley flied out to center to open the game but Cabrera then roped his fourth homer of the season, this time over the center field wall, to give the Tribe the 1-0 lead.

Orlando Cabrera singled to center with one out in the second and after Austin Kearns doubled to put runners on second and third LaPorta plated them both to put Cleveland up 4-0.

Chatwood was pulled in the sixth and Francisco Rodriguez got through two solid innings, allowing only two hits. Rodriguez yielded to Scott Downs and Rich Thompson who both pitched hitless frames to close out the game for Los Angeles.

Talbot, who threw 112 pitches, was pulled after Bobby Abreu roped a double to left to begin the ninth. Pestano came in and sat down the Angels' 4-5-6 hitters in order to end the game.

Game two of the series will feature Fausto Carmona (1-0) for Cleveland as Haren (2-0) takes the hill for Los Angeles.

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