Cleveland Indians' Jason Kipnis, right, watches his RBI sacrifice fly against the Miami Marlins in the fifth inning of an interleague baseball game in Cleveland, Saturday.
Associated Press Enlarge
CLEVELAND -- Jeanmar Gomez had faith in his fastball and slider -- along with complete confidence in Cleveland's defense.
Gomez, aided by two early plays from first baseman Casey Kotchman, pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning, and Asdrubal Cabrera homered to lead the Indians past the Miami Marlins 2-0 Saturday.
"Another well-pitched game by both sides," Indians manager Manny Acta said.
Miami put two runners on base in an inning only once against Gomez (3-2), who struck out four over 6 1/3 innings. Cabrera connected off Anibal Sanchez (2-2) to put Cleveland ahead in the fourth.
Three relievers finished off the Indians' third shutout of the season. Chris Perez struck out the side on 10 pitches in the ninth for his 13th save in 14 chances. All three Marlins looked at strike three.
"We were looking for a walk to make sure the tying run got to the plate," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said with a laugh.
Perez was just as pithy.
"I'm tired of getting booed at home, so I figured I'd throw strikes today," said the right-hander, who blew a save in the season opener and entered with a 6.48 ERA at Progressive Field.
Miami dropped to 13-5 in May, while Cleveland earned its fifth win in six games as Gomez's performance extended a string of strong outings by the Indians' rotation. Cleveland starters have worked six or more innings in 20 of the last 23 games.
Gomez walked two and was in trouble only once, when Miami had runners on first and third with two outs in the third. He got Hanley Ramirez to fly out to right to end the threat.
"He made good pitches when he had to, had very good life on his two-seam fastball and a swing-and-miss slider," Acta said.
The 24-year-old right-hander also got immediate help from Kotchman, who made a diving stop of a hard-hit ball by Jose Reyes leading off the game, then finished the first inning with another sprawling catch of a shot off the bat of Greg Dobbs.
"Casey's defense was the key," Acta said. "If Reyes gets on it is a double, or a single and he steals and creates havoc on the bases."
NOTES: Marlins OF Emilio Bonifacio's consecutive game streak was broken at 112. He sat out with a sprained left thumb, sustained Friday night. ... Indians GM Chris Antonetti believes Cleveland has yet to play its best despite leading the AL Central. He cited injuries to LHP Rafael Perez, RHP Josh Tomlin, and OF Grady Sizemore, ace RHP Ubaldo Jimenez's inconsistent pitching, and slow starts at the plate by 1B Casey Kotchman (.211) and OFs Johnny Damon (.167) and Shelley Duncan (.202) among areas that could clear up and give the team a boost.