ARLINGTON, Texas -- C.C. Sabathia got plenty of help to become the first 13-game winner in the major leagues.
While it was another shaky start for Sabathia, Cleveland's ace left-hander was backed by Grady Sizemore -- who contributed with his bat and his glove -- and a rally killing defensive play by Josh Barfield in the Indians' 7-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.
"I give credit to all these guys. They did the work," Sabathia said. "I kind of kept us above water and then just tried to make sure we stayed in there. These guys definitely deserve all the credit for this one."
Sabathia, who allowed 13 runs in 11 innings while losing his two previous July starts, squandered a 4-0 lead against the Rangers. That was before Sizemore's long tiebreaking home run leading off the fifth.
Two days before his 27th birthday, Sabathia (13-4) allowed four runs and nine hits over six innings with two strikeouts and a walk. The three-time All-Star left-hander had a throwing error that led to an unearned run.
"He had to work real hard for it, but he never gave into it," manager Eric Wedge said. "That goes a long way with me. That goes a long way for us. ... Ultimately, he left the game with us in the lead."
An inning before his 16th homer, a 419-foot shot that made it 5-4, Sizemore made a nice recovery in center field to catch Travis Metcalf's wind-blown flyball against the wall. The Rangers had the bases loaded when Sizemore took a step in, then raced back to make the catch.
"I was having a hard time seeing the ball, really," Sizemore said. "I kind of thought he popped it up, and it kind of got behind me a little bit. I just tried to get back there and catch it."
Sizemore did and only one run scored on the play before Kenny Lofton hit a hard short-hopper up the middle. Barfield, the second baseman, fielded the ball from his knee and made the relay to start an inning-ending double play.
"That's a play you look back on. He made a heck of a play on it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We could have used some luck tonight."
Kameron Loe (5-8) allowed six runs and six hits over six innings. He lost his second straight start since a career-best four-game winning streak.
After Sizemore's homer, Casey Blake got a triple when his sinking liner got past diving left fielder Brad Wilkerson. Blake came home on a strange 4-6-3 RBI groundout by Ryan Garko that initially appeared to be an inning-ending double play.
Ramon Vazquez, playing shortstop with Michael Young away to attend a family funeral, was to the side of the base when he caught the relay from Jerry Hairston and made the throw to get Garko out at first. The runner at second was safe, allowing Blake to score.
The Indians loaded the bases in the second before Trot Nixon's two-run double. Ben Francisco had a sacrifice fly before Sizemore's two-out RBI single made it 4-0.
"It's hard to recover from a four-run inning. A lot of my losses have been because of one bad inning," Loe said. "I've been getting run support. If I can eliminate the big inning, I'll be all right."
Texas got three runs back in the bottom of the second -- all after two outs. Wilkerson had a double before Gerald Laird's two-run homer, his sixth of the season. Vazquez hit the next pitch into the right-center gap for a double and came home on Metcalf's bunt single when Sabathia threw the ball wide of first base.
Wilkerson had a leadoff walk in the fourth before consecutive bunt singles by Laird and Vazquez, who beat out the throw on an attempted sacrifice bunt. Vazquez finished 3-for-4.
- Lofton, the 40-year-old center fielder, made a running over-the-shoulder basket catch near the wall on Jhonny Peralta's flyball to end the seventh.
- Garko extended a 13-game hitting streak with a leadoff ground-rule double in the eighth. He scored when Francisco singled.
- C Laird leads the AL with nine bunt singles.
- The last batter Sabathia faced was No. 9 hitter Metcalf, who flew out to end a 13-pitch at-bat with two men on for the final out in the sixth.