DETROIT - Carl Pavano made his best start since joining the Cleveland Indians, but had to sweat out the final five outs before he could celebrate his first victory with the club.
After he pitched 71/3 effective innings, the bullpen held off the Detroit Tigers 6-5 Friday night.
Pavano (1-3), who made his longest start since a shutout win at Seattle on May 17, 2005, left with Cleveland leading 6-1 in the eighth inning. He was pulled for reliever Rafael Perez after giving up two doubles in the eighth, including Adam Everett's that gave the Tigers' their first run. Placido Polanco followed with an RBI single that made it 6-2.
Reliever Jensen Lewis later gave up Miguel Cabrera's fifth homer of the season, a three-run shot that cut the lead to 6-5.
The Indians got out of the inning and Kerry Wood pitched a scoreless ninth for his fifth save and as many chances.
"They put the ball in play and the guys made great plays behind me," said Pavano, who struck out only three batters. "On both sides of the diamond, we played pretty well."
After four injury riddled seasons with the New York Yankees, Pavano showed the kind of stuff that made him a 2004 NL all-star with Florida. He had just the three strikeouts but allowed just one Tiger to reach second base in the first seven innings. By that time, the lineup had given him a six-run cushion.
"When you get the runs, it allows you to be a little more aggressive," Pavano added.
Cleveland's Jhonny Peralta ended an 0-for-8 skid with an RBI single and solo homer in his first two at-bats. The first hit came during the Indians' four-run second inning.
Peralta added his first home run of the season in the third off Armando Galarraga (3-1), who lost for the first time this season after lasting just five innings.
Galarraga, who had an 0.68 ERA in his first two starts at Comerica Park, allowed five runs in the first three innings - matching the total he'd allowed in his first four outings. The right-hander, who led all AL rookies with 13 wins last season, was pulled after throwing 94 pitches.
"I thought Galarraga looked tentative tonight," Detroit manager Jim Leyland said. "Pavano pretty much controlled us. Nothing fancy. He just used both sides of the plate."
Peralta, Grady Sizemore, Asdrubal Cabrera and Victor Martinez drove in runs during the second and Kelly Shoppach added an RBI single in the seventh off reliever Nate Robertson.
Peralta's third-inning homer was his 86th with the Indians, moving him ahead of Woodie Held for sole possession of the club's career record for a shortstop.
"It was nice to see him get that home run out of the way," manager Eric Wedge said of Peralta, who was 2-for-31 during the Indians' last nine games.
NOTES: The Indians recalled OF David Dellucci and optioned LHP Rich Rundles to Triple-A
Columbus before the game. ... Matt LaPorta, the outfielder acquired during last season's trade for CC Sabathia, will join the club before today's game. ... Light rain showers delayed the start of the game 43 minutes.