Five-run first inning boosts Angels over Indians
Cleveland, OH -- Josh Hamilton hit a three-run home run off Cleveland starter Scott Kazmir as part of a five-run first inning, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim beat the Indians 5-2 Friday night at Progressive Field.
With the loss, the Indians have lost five games in a row, all at home, after winning all seven games during their previous homestand. The Angels broke a four-game losing streak behind a strong performance by ace Jered Weaver.
Kazmir (7-5, 4.18) struggled from the outset, allowing the first three Angels to reach via two singles and walk. Mark Trumbo made Kazmir pay with a bases-loaded single to left, scoring the game's first two runs. After a strikeout, Hamilton homered to right, blowing open the game to the tune of 5-0. The homer was Hamilton's 17th of the season and broke a four-game hitless streak for the slugger.
The Tribe was looking to Kazmir to stop a four-game skid after the first-place Tigers came to Cleveland and dominated.
The left-hander, who came in with a 5-0 record in nine home starts this season, worked only three innings against his most recent former major league team.
Following the game, Kazmir, who has pitched 114 innings after throwing only 64 last season in independent ball, said he is dealing with a dead arm.
"It feels like I'm going through a little bit of dead-arm fatigue," he said. "I thought I could go out there and gut it out, but it just didn't work out."
Kazmir was released by the Angels two years ago, beginning his journey back to the majors that included a stop with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League, a far cry from the future that was predicted for him.
"There aren't any hard feelings or anything like that," Kazmir said. "It was business."
Overall, Kazmir lasted just three innings, allowing five runs on six hits and walk. The outing was his shortest since June 15.
"It didn't look like he had his best stuff to start," said Indians manager Terry Francona. "But some little things led to some bigger things and I think he's a little bit tired."
The Tribe bullpen kept the Angels from extending the lead, but Weaver limited the Indians lineup to just two runs.
Matt Albers pitched around a walk in the fourth to post his third straight scoreless appearance in a row. Carlos Carrasco, called up in place of Preston Guilmet for bullpen relief, pitched the final five innings for Cleveland, allowing just one hit and three walks while striking out four.
Carrasco became the first Indians reliever to log five innings of relief since Jeremy Sowers accomplished the feat on May 25, 2009. After providing much needed bullpen relief, Carrasco will get to stay with the big league club, according to Francona.
Weaver (7-5, 2.87) kept the Indians quiet for most of the night, allowing just two solo homers. Over seven innings of work, he allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out four.
The right-hander has dominated at Progressive Field, going 6-0 with 1.64 ERA in nine career starts. According to the Angels, he entered the game as the first pitcher since 1916 to be 5-0 or better with an ERA of 1.52 or lower at any road stadium.
Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera each hit solo homers in the second and fourth innings, respectively, but the Indians lineup failed to muster much else against Weaver and two relievers. No hitter had more than one hit for Cleveland.
Over the last eight games, opposing starters have gone 4-1 with 1.91 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, and 57 strikeouts against the Indians. During that same stretch, the Indians are hitting .210 and just .172 with runners in scoring position.
The Indians will look to break their five-game losing streak in the second game of a three-game series against the Angels Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. Ubaldo Jimenez (8-6, 4.18) will take the mound for the Indians against Angels right-hander C.J. Wilson (11-6, 3.49).
Notes: Mike Trout has reached base in 39 straight games, the second-longest streak in team history. … Asdrubal Cabrera has two doubles and a home run in his last two games in the cleanup spot.
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.