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Published: Saturday, 8/23/2008

Carmona lifts Indians over Texas

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ARLINGTON, Texas - Fausto Carmona was able to put his last start against the Texas Rangers behind him.

The big right-hander pitched six strong innings and the Indians continued their late-season surge with a 7-5 victory over the stumbling Rangers last night.

Carmona (6-5) allowed one run and six hits, struck out five and walked three as the Indians won for the 11th time in 14 games.

His previous start against the Rangers was on May 23, a 13-9 loss at Cleveland. Carmona lasted a season-low two innings in that game, allowing six runs and five hits before leaving with a hip strain that landed him on the disabled list the following day.

"I never thought about [the start in May]," Carmona said through an interpreter. "I tried to think about this start today and making sure to give the team a chance to win."

Carmona's recovery took more than two months before he returned to the rotation on July 26. He lost three of four decisions entering yesterday.

Marlon Byrd's three-run homer in the eighth off Rafael Perez got the Rangers within 5-4.

Jensen Lewis allowed a leadoff homer to Brandon Boggs in the ninth to make it 7-5.

But Lewis got the final three outs for his fifth save, sending the Rangers to their 12th loss in 15 games.

Lewis' biggest challenge was facing major league RBI leader Josh Hamilton with one out and a runner on first. Lewis got Hamilton on a called third strike, fanned pinch-hitter Frank Catalanotto swinging, and retired Hank Blalock on a line drive.

"That's not exactly the guy [Hamilton] you want to face as the tying run," Lewis said.

"We threw him all fastballs, changing them up between two- and four-seamers. We wanted to keep his eye moving. We didn't want him to extend his hands on the 3-2 pitch. If I was going to miss, I would miss in. We didn't want to give him a chance to hit it out of the park."

Ben Francisco had three hits, including an RBI double in a two-run ninth off Eddie Guardado that stretched Cleveland's lead to 7-4.

"It was big for us to tack on runs there," Indians manager Eric Wedge said.

"In this park, a one-run lead is not enough. It's never over until the last out is made."

Guardado, the Rangers' closer, hadn't pitched in five days. A leadoff walk to Asdrubal Cabrera opened the door for the Indians in the ninth.

"What happened was he got ahead of Cabrera with two strikes, then Cabrera made him throw a ton of pitches," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

Rangers rookie Matt Harrison (5-3) was in trouble from the beginning of his ninth major league start as Ryan Garko's two-run double in the first got the Indians offense rolling.

In the second, Andy Marte's RBI triple, Cabrera's sacrifice fly and Jhonny Peralta's run-scoring single pushed the lead to 5-0. Harrison allowed five runs and seven hits in 32/3 innings.

NOTES: Cleveland C Victor Martinez and 2B Josh Barfield are on minor league rehab assignments, and DH Travis Hafner is likely to begin one soon. All three are expected to be activated in the next few weeks.



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