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Jake Westbrook Pitches Into 8th Inning In Tribe's 3rd Straight Win

(Sports Network) – Austin Kearns drove in four runs via two homers and Jake Westbrook pitched into the eighth, as the Indians dropped the Nationals, 7-2, in the opener of a three-game interleague series.

In 7 1/3 innings, Westbrook (4-3) allowed just two runs on seven hits and two walks while fanning five to lead Cleveland to its third straight win.

Travis Hafner went 2-for-3 with a double and solo home run for the Indians, whose manager, Manny Acta, was fired by the Nationals in midseason last year.

Adam Dunn and Ivan Rodriguez each had two hits and an RBI, while Luis Atilano (5-3) was credited with the loss for allowing six runs — three earned — on seven hits and two walks in five-plus innings for Washington, which was coming off a three-game sweep of the Pirates.

Washington jumped in front in the first when Dunn followed Rodriguez’s one-out double with a two-bagger of his own.

Atilano appeared to get out of the bottom half with just one hit allowed, but Adam Kennedy booted Russell Branyan’s routine ground ball to keep the inning going. Kearns then worked a full count and hammered a hanging curveball over the left-field wall for his sixth round-tripper of the season.

Kearns added another homer to roughly the same spot leading off the fourth, and Hafner hit a solo shot to start a three-run inning sixth.

Jhonny Peralta’s single ended Atilano’s night, and two batters after a Luis Valbuena base hit, Trevor Crowe singled off Tyler Walker to score both runners for a healthy 7-1 Cleveland lead.

Kennedy scored in the eighth after Rodriguez reached base on Valbuena’s error. Tony Sipp relieved Westbrook and walked Dunn to load the bases, but Chris Perez came in and got the dangerous Ryan Zimmerman to bounce into an inning- ending 6-4-3 double to minimize the damage.

Perez stayed in and hurled a scoreless ninth to record his sixth save of the season.

The Nationals were making their first ever visit to Progressive Field. It was the first time a team from Washington visited Cleveland since the Senators split a doubleheader with the Tribe back on September 14, 1971 at old Cleveland Stadium…Cleveland’s top catching prospect Carlos Santana made his major league debut and went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Santana was called up from Triple-A Columbus, which welcomed back catcher Lou Marson via a club option…The Nationals took two of three from the Indians the last time these teams met back in 2007…It was Kearns’ fourth career multi-homer game.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.