Indians respond to Yankee rally
CLEVELAND - Jhonny Peralta took an easy approach and lined a hard game-winning hit.
Cleveland's third baseman drove in three runs with three hits, including a one-out RBI single in the ninth inning as the Indians defeated the New York Yankees, 5-4, yesterday.
"The only thing I thought is: We really need a hit to win, so don't try too hard," Peralta said. "I figured they would pitch inside. That's where it was, so I just swung."
Peralta pulled the 3-1 offering from David Robertson past diving third baseman Alex Rodriguez on the backhand side to score Trevor Crowe from second base.
Mark Teixeira extended his season-high hitting streak to 13 games and had four RBIs for New York. He hit a two-run homer, his 16th, in the sixth off former Yankees righthander Carl Pavano. His two-run double off Matt Herges in the eighth tied it at 4.
"He's been hot his whole career, not just now," Pavano said of Teixeira, who is hitting .400 with 20 RBIs during his streak.
New York played its 17th straight errorless game, tying the major league record set by the Red Sox in June 2006, but lost for only the fourth time in 18 games.
Kerry Wood (2-2) got Jorge Posada to bounce into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and third in the top of the ninth.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi gave Brett Gardner at first base the steal sign with Posada up, but the rookie didn't go.
"It has been addressed," Girardi said.
Phil Coke (1-3) came on in the bottom half and walked Crowe, who was bunted to second by Asdrubal Cabrera. Robertson replaced Coke and walked Ben Francisco before yielding Peralta's hit.
"The walks hurt us," Girardi said. "That's the bottom line. Walks aren't something you can afford in that situation.
"They got the hit. We didn't."
After Cabrera twice bunted foul, manager Eric Wedge gave him the green light to swing away.
"I saw Wedge take off the bunt sign and saw what Asdrubal was doing and thought, 'Good luck to you,' " Peralta said.
Cabrera said he wasn't worried about bunting foul for a third strike.
"I feel comfortable bunting, that's my game," the shortstop said. "I wanted to move the runner and stay out of the double play."
Pavano pitched well for 7 1/3 innings, leaving with a 4-2 lead as he sought his sixth win in seven starts in May. He gave up three runs and seven hits, striking out four without a walk.
"They are a tough team," Pavano said. "We played great, let it slip away, but came back. We got a win, so I'm happy."
The righthander signed a four-year, $40 million contract with New York in 2005, but spent much of his time on the disabled list. In only 26 starts, he was 9-8 with a 5.00 ERA. He got off to a rocky start in Cleveland after signing a one-year, free-agent contract in January, going 0-3 with a 9.50 ERA in four April starts before becoming one of the Indians' few bright spots in May.
Teixeira hit a 3-2 pitch from Herges off the wall, just out of the reach of a leaping Crowe in center to score both Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon, costing Pavano a win.
The Indians put All-Star center fielder Grady Sizemore on the 15-day disabled list before the game with an inflamed left elbow and played without catcher Victor Martinez, who bruised his left knee Saturday. Reliever Rafael Betancourt made only three pitches before leaving with a right groin strain.
Pavano yielded a one-out single to Jeter in the eighth and was replaced by Rafael Perez. Damon sent Jeter to third with a double and Perez was replaced by Betancourt, who went to a 2-1 count on Teixeira - and had to leave.