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Mathis leads Angels over Indians 3-2


Cleveland Indians' Jhonny Peralta tosses his bat after striking out against the Los Angeles Angels during the eighth inning in Anaheim, Calif., Tuesday.


ANAHEIM, Calif. Jeff Mathis hit a go-ahead solo homer in the fifth inning to lead the Los Angeles Angels to a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.

Angels right-hander Jered Weaver, making his first start since July 9, threw 77 pitches over three innings then left with tightness in the middle of his back. He allowed two runs and three hits. Darren Oliver (4-1) relieved him and allowed one hit in 2 2-3 innings for the victory.

Mathis, in a 5-for-33 rut, led off the fifth against Matt Ginter (1-1) and drove the right-hander s 2-2 pitch into the left-field bullpen for his seventh homer.

Jose Arredondo retired Ben Francisco on a forceout with runners at the corners to end the Cleveland seventh. Scot Shields pitched a hitless eighth and Francisco Rodriguez did likewise in the ninth for his 41st save surpassing last season s total with 62 games remaining.

Rodriguez, a three-time All-Star who becomes a free agent at the end of the season, is five saves shy of the franchise record he set in 2006. He lost his arbitration hearing against the club in February, getting $10 million this season after asking for $12.5 million.

Ginter allowed three runs and seven hits over six innings in his second start with the Indians. On July 12, he held Tampa Bay to five hits over five scoreless innings in an 8-4 victory. He has yet to walk a batter.

Reggie Willits started in center field for the AL West-leading Angels in place of Torii Hunter, who was placed on the bereavement list so he could be with his seriously ill grandmother in Pine Bluff, Ark.

Willits tied the game 2-2 in the second with a two-out RBI single after Howie Kendrick scored on a fielder s choice grounder by Mathis.

Cleveland s Grady Sizemore pulled even with Carlos Quentin of the White Sox for the league lead in homers with his 24th, driving Weaver s fifth pitch of the game just over the 18-foot wall in right. Weaver had not allowed a home run in his previous four starts.

It was Sizemore s sixth leadoff homer of the season, breaking Kenny Lofton s 1999 club record. Sizemore s 17 career leadoff homers are one behind Lofton s franchise mark.

The Indians scored their second run when Kelly Shoppach was hit with an 0-2 pitch leading off the second and came around on Franklin Gutierrez s triple to left-center. Gutierrez has three hits in three career at-bats against Weaver.

Notes:Mathis threw out Jamey Carroll trying to steal 2B in the first. That snapped a streak of 29 consecutive stolen bases by Angels opponents since June 18 when Mathis gunned down Marlon Anderson of the Mets at second. Carroll came in with six steals in seven attempts. ... Cleveland SS Jhonny Peralta, batting .337 since he was moved into the cleanup spot on June 22, was rested by manager Eric Wedge. He pinch-hit in the eighth and struck out, ending his 11-game hitting streak. ... Casey Blake batted cleanup for the Indians and was 1-for-3 with a walk. Blake has started in every spot in the lineup this year except leadoff. ... Maicer Izturis fielding error on Carroll s routine grounder was his first in 44 starts at SS this season ending what was the longest current errorless streak by anyone at that position.

AP-CS-07-23-08 0136EDT

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