It was not looking good early last night, as the Los Angeles Angels’ Vernon Wells gave the home team an early 2-0 lead with a homer off of Tribe rookie Alex White, who was making just his second career appearance, but White hung tough for six innings, allowing just three runs, Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run double (breaking an 0-for-18 slump) to give Cleveland the lead in the fifth, and the Tribe bullpen shut down the Angels for three innings as the Indians won the middle-game of this three-game series 4-3, beating Jered Weaver and assuring no worse than a .500 road trip.
White (1-0, 3.75 ERA) tossed 100 pitches in doing a splendid job of keeping the Indians in the game. And Weaver (6-2, 1.87 ERA), who has been nasty against the American League this year, could not sustain the early lead.
After Wells gave Los Angeles the 2-0 lead in the second, White got out of a first-and-third-and-one-out jam in the third, getting a double play grounder from Maicer Izturis to end the threat, and the Indians got one back in the fourth.
With one out, Carlos Santana doubled and moved to third on a single by Travis Hafner. Orlando Cabrera then came through with a sacrifice fly, and it was 2-1 Angels.
In the Cleveland fifth, the Indians did all of their damage with two outs. Grady Sizemore walked and went to second on a wild pitch from Weaver, and Asdrubal Cabrera also walked. That was when Choo came through with his double down the line to right, scoring both runners and giving the Tribe the lead.
Carlos Santana followed with a single to center, scoring Choo with what would turn out to be the winning run.
The Angels got their final run in the bottom of the sixth when Wells got his third RBI of the game on a sac fly, but that came an inning after White allowed two singles to start the fifth and got out of the jam without any damage.
Tony Sipp pitched a perfect seventh. In the eighth, Vinnie Pestano was helped by a base-running blunder from the Angels’ Izturis, who led off with a single and then — after one was out — tried to go to third on a ground out and was cut down at third by Santana, who hit Jack Hannahan in stride going to the bag, where Hannahan’s tag completed the odd double play.
Chris Perez pitched a perfect ninth for his tenth save of 2011.
The Indians collected nine hits, with Choo, Santana and Hafner all coming through with two.
It was the second game in a row with two hits for Santana — a good sight and hopefully a sign that Santana is coming out of his slump.
The series and road trip concludes on Sunday afternoon at 3:35.