Reporting Matt Loede
CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – If you thought Ubaldo Jimenez’s recent string of success was a fluke – you’ll have to wait at least one more start to prove it.
Jimenez again was dominant as the Indians won the first game of a 10-game road swing that will end June, topping the NL Central’s Houston Astros 2-0 at in Houston.
Ubaldo went 6.2 innings, allowing four hits, no runs, walking four and striking out eight. He dropped his ERA down to 4.59. He pushes his record to 7-5 on the season.
The first run of the game came right away, as Shin-Soo Choo tripled just inches away from it being foul to start the game, and then scored on a sac fly by Asdrubal Cabrera to left field.
The Indians huge insurance run came in the 9th when Astros reliever David Carpenter started the inning, and allowed a single to Cabrera. Then with reliever Fernando Abad in for Carpenter, he walked Jason Kipnis.
After Carlos Santana struck out, Michael Brantley came through with a huge single to shallow left that scored Cabrera to give the Tribe the 2-0 advantage.
The rest of the night – an old fashioned pitchers duel.
Jimenez went pitch for pitch with Astros starter Lucas Harrell, who was just as good minus the one run he allowed in the first inning. Harrell struck out nine in 7 innings, allowing the one run on two Indians hits.
Joe Smith threw the final one-third of the Astros 6th inning, and then the Indians relief combo of “Batman and Robin,” aka Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez, combined to come in to throw the 8th and 9th to shut the door.
For Perez, it’s his 23rd save in a row, with the only hiccup coming on opening day against the Toronto Blue Jays. He cemented the Indians win by striking out the side.
The win keeps the Indians in first in the AL Central, as they push their 2012 mark to 37-32, 17-14 away from Progressive Field. Houston falls to 28-42 on the year.
Saturday the Indians and Astros play game two of their three-game set, as Jeanmar Gomez (4-6, 4.95) goes up against Astros lefty Dallas Keuchel (0-0, 1.80) at 4:05pm.