CLEVELAND - Cleveland Indians right-hander Bartolo Colon dominated the American League's best hitting team for eight innings.
And he struck out Rusty Greer with a 99-mph fastball in the seventh inning to work out of a bases-loaded game.
Meanwhile, Juan Gonzalez and Marty Cordova provided more than enough run support for Colon, who struck out a season-high 10 batters in Cleveland's 9-2 victory over Texas before 40,132 fans at Jacobs Field.
Gonzalez had three hits and three RBIs, while Cordova belted a three-run homer in the fifth inning when the Tribe chased Rangers starter Doug Davis (2-2).
Colon allowed just five hits and one earned run while throwing 132 pitches to win at home for the first time since Sept. 13 of last season. Reliever Steve Reed worked a scoreless ninth.
“I wanted to finish the game,” Colon said, “but I threw too many pitches in the seventh inning. I am glad I got to pitch to Greer. I got him with my best pitch - a fastball.”
After Colon (3-2) struck out Greer to end the seventh in his most overpowering performance of the year, he pumped his fist in the air. Colon's two previous pitches to Greer hit 100 and 98 mph on the radar gun.
“I pumped my fist because I thought I wasn't going to go back out there,” Colon said. “But after the inning, they asked me if I had any pitches left and I said, `yes.' So, I went back out there.”
Colon also had a good breaking pitch working yesterday, which helped him register the 10th 10-strikeout game of his career. He has worked into the seventh inning in all six of his starts, and into the eighth in three.
“Bartolo got behind some guys today, but he battled back, kept his composure, and came up with some really big pitches,” Indians catcher Eddie Taubensee said. “He was working his fastball in and out, and he got ahead a lot in the count today, and put batters away.
“I think he used his curve more extensively today as an out pitch, along with his fastball.”
Colon labeled his performance as “good, but not my best.”
“He pitched a good ballgame today, and beat a good team,” Tribe manager Charlie Manuel said. “We all know what kind of game Bartolo can pitch when he's on, like he was today.
“Anytime he pitches, we expect to win. He's our ace.”
Gonzalez, who made his first start at DH, is among the AL leaders in eight offensive categories. He now has 20 RBIs in his last 17 games after collecting a two-run single in the third against the Rangers and an RBI double in the fifth.
In 44 career games at Jacobs Field, he is hitting .358 (68-for-190) with 15 doubles, 18 homers and 53 RBIs .
“I usually don't start very fast,” said Gonzalez, who is batting .387 with eight homers and 26 RBIs in 23 games this season. “I like warm weather. It's cold here. I just try to do my best.
“It feels good to beat Texas since I used to play for them. We've been swinging the bats very well, and we're getting good pitching.”
Besides Gonzalez's RBI double off the wall in the fifth, Cordova tagged reliever R.A. Dickey for a three-run homer, his fourth of the season.
“I hit it well,” Cordova said. “When I first hit it, I wasn't sure if it was going to get out or not. But once I started running, I knew it was over the fence.”
In the third, the Indians used four singles and two walks to score four runs off Davis, who needed 41 pitches to get out of the inning.
The Indians, who scored 25 runs in taking two of three games from the Rangers, also outhit their opponent for the seventh straight game, finishing with 11 yesterday off three Texas pitchers.
Cleveland also finished its homestand at 6-3.
“It's nice to see us hitting the ball so well,” said Taubensee, who was 2-for-4 with an RBI. “I think it just goes to show we're playing good ball.”
Reed, a 35-year-old sidewinder, preserved the win for Colon. In nine appearances out of the bullpen, Reed has surrendered two runs in 11 1/3 innings - a 1.59 ERA.
“The key is that I am feeling good, and I'm healthy,” he said.