ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
HOUSTON -- Shin-Soo Choo hit a leadoff triple and Michael Brantley drove in a run late to back up a strong start by Ubaldo Jimenez and the Cleveland Indians got a 2-0 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night.
Choo's triple was one of only two hits the Indians managed in seven innings against Houston starter Lucas Harrell (6-6) as these teams met for the first time since 2001.
Choo made it 1-0 when he scored on a sacrifice fly by Asdrubal Cabrera after his triple.
Brantley added an insurance run for the Indians with his RBI single with one out in the ninth inning.
Jimenez (7-5) allowed four hits with eight strikeouts in 6⅔ innings. Chris Perez struck out the side in the ninth for his major league-leading 23rd save.
Harrell took the loss despite allowing two hits and striking out a career-high nine in seven innings.
Including Cabrera's out, Harrell retired 19 of the next 20 batters he faced. Cleveland's only base runner in that stretch came on a walk by Carlos Santana with two outs in the fourth.
Harrell didn't run into trouble until Santana and Brantley drew consecutive walks with one out in the seventh inning, before a single by Johnny Damon loaded the bases.
Harrell got out of the inning when Casey Kotchman flew out to right field and Brian Bogusevic's throw to catcher Chris Snyder was in time to throw out Santana at home.
The Indians finished with four hits to end a streak of four straight games with at least 10 hits.
The Astros had several opportunities to score, but were unable to connect at key times for the second straight game, going 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position. They went 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position in a 2-1 loss to the Royals on Wednesday.
Perez believes pitchers on every team use pine tar
Perez said he believes there are pitchers on every team who use pine tar and other substances to manipulate the ball.
"If before every game if they stopped and checked everybody's gloves or something there would be one or two guys on every team that would just get popped," he said.
Clarifying comments he made earlier on a satellite radio show, Perez, a former Cardinal, said he wasn't specifically calling out St. Louis for doing it.
"I've only played for two teams and more guys did it on the Cardinals than here," he said.
Tampa Bay reliever Joel Peralta was suspended for eight games on Thursday for having pine tar on his glove. The suspension came after he was ejected Tuesday night when Washington manager Davey Johnson asked the umpires to check his glove when he was warming up in the eighth.
Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon was upset with Johnson's actions, saying he had inside information since Peralta pitched for the Nationals in 2010. Perez believes the issue isn't pine tar, but rather that one of the many unwritten rules of baseball was broken when Johnson used inside information on a former player.
"I think the Rays are more mad about somebody calling them out," he said. "It had to be somebody that knew-- that used to play with them. I have old teammates that I could tell [manager] Manny [Acta] to call out, but I'm not going to. It's not bush league, but it's still not on the up and up."
Perez says he only uses rosin, but that he's seen players use pine tar, sunscreen, rosin, dirt, and a mixture of those things. He doesn't believe that pine tar changes the pitches, but rather simply helps with gripping .
"I use just rosin and it can get just as sticky as pine tar and if they checked me some games, there would be nothing in my glove, but my fingers would stick together because rosin with sweat and dirt is sticky," Perez said. "That's why it's out there is to help us."