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Kearns hurts old club as Indians down Nats; Santana debuts

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CLEVELAND -- Austin Kearns' good health has the Cleveland Indians feeling fine, too.

Kearns drove in four runs with two homers against his former team as the Indians beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Friday night.

"Austin is the ultimate pro and it's good to see him healthy," Indians manager Manny Acta said.

Travis Hafner also homered to help give Acta a win in his first game against the team that fired him last July 13. That was only a month after Washington drafted Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander, coming off a sensational 14-strikeout debut, will make his first road start Sunday in Cleveland.

Jake Westbrook (4-3) gave up two runs over 7 1/3 innings as Cleveland won for the fourth time in five games, depriving Washington of its first four-game winning streak.

Kearns hit a three-run shot off Luis Atilano (5-3) in the first inning. He hit the first pitch of the fourth for a 5-1 lead and his fourth multiple homer game, first since June 4, 2006, at Houston.

"Before we came in here I was glad to see him doing well," Nationals manager Jim Riggleman said. "I wish we had done a better job on him tonight.

"He's a strong man. Anytime he walks up there, he has a chance to do some damage and he did it."

Kearns holds no animosity toward the Nationals, who made him a free agent in November. He signed a minor-league deal with Cleveland in January and is playing regularly with outfielder Grady Sizemore out for the year after knee surgery.

"It doesn't matter which team it is, I want to win, not just against them," he said.

The 30-year-old was limited to 80 games a year ago by a right thumb injury that required surgery in August. The previous year, he had right elbow surgery and played only 86 games.

Kearns' bid for a third homer was caught by leaping center fielder Nyjer Morgan at the wall in right-center in the seventh.

"I knew it was going to be close, but I'm not surprised Nyjer came up with it," Kearns said. "He can play."

Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana went 0 for 3 with one run and a walk in his big-league debut. The switch-hitter, who hit .310 with 57 homers and 265 RBI in 317 minor-league games, was called up from Triple-A Columbus -- and quickly tested on defense.

Morgan opened the game with a single and took off for second on the first pitch to Ivan Rodriguez. Santana, converted from an infielder to catcher in 2007, threw out the speedster with a quick, accurate throw.

"Wow," Santana said through an interpreter. "That felt good. I knew it was a team that could run."

Rodriguez then doubled and scored on a double by Adam Dunn for a 1-0 lead.

"Carlos' throw was huge," Westbrook said. "It would have been at least 2-0 without it. He was great back there all night."

Trevor Crowe's two-run single off reliever Tyler Walker made it 7-1 in the sixth.

Chris Perez came on with the bases loaded and got Ryan Zimmerman to hit into a bases-loaded double play to end the eighth. Perez finished for his sixth save in nine chances.

Atilano, a rookie, allowed six runs over five-plus innings, dropping to 4-1 in six road starts. All three first-inning runs he allowed were unearned due to an error by second baseman Adam Kennedy.

Westbrook improved to 4-1 in seven starts since May 11. The right-hander, who missed much of 2008 and all of 2009 after having Tommy John surgery, struck out five. That was the most since he fanned eight in a complete-game win at Baltimore on May 16.

Acta was greeted warmly by several Nationals players during batting practice. Hired to his first big-league job in 2007, he received a few manager of the year votes that year before injuries took their toll in a 102-loss season in 2008. Washington was 26-61 at the All-Star break a year ago when he was dismissed.

Earlier this week, Acta refused to blame the Nationals for letting him go. He said he felt "grateful" that he was fired, because it gave him the opportunity to pursue the job in Cleveland after the Indians fired Eric Wedge at the end of a 97-loss season in 2009.

Notes

  • RHP Chad Ogea, winner of two games in the 1997 World Series, signed autographs before the game as part of the Indians' alumni program.
  • Cleveland sent C Lou Marson to Columbus to make roster room for Santana.
  • Morgan, Rodriguez and Dunn went a combined 6 for 9. The rest of the Nationals were a combined 1 for 21. Dunn has hit .339 (40 for 118 with seven homers and 21 RBI since May 9.
  • Kearns, Hafner and Jhonny Peralta were a combined 6 for 11 with five extra-base hits.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Carlos Santana doesn't get a hit in his debut, but he does get to throw out a baserunner.  (AP)
Carlos Santana doesn't get a hit in his debut, but he does get to throw out a baserunner. (AP)

Players of the Game
Cleveland

A. Kearns
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 4
Washington

I. Rodriguez
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Washington Nationals
Nyjer Morgan, CF4020000 .258
Ivan Rodriguez, C4121000 .336
Adam Dunn, 1B3021110 .289
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B4000014 .309
Josh Willingham, DH4000021 .277
Willie Harris, LF4000000 .168
Ian Desmond, SS3000110 .268
Adam Kennedy, 2B3110101 .245
Roger Bernadina, RF2000102 .268
Totals3127245  
Batting
2B - Ivan Rodriguez (11, Westbrook), Adam Dunn (18, Westbrook)
RBI - Ivan Rodriguez (17), Adam Dunn (34)
SB - Adam Kennedy (8, 2nd base off Westbrook/Santana)
CS - Nyjer Morgan (10, 2nd base by Westbrook/Santana)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
E - Adam Kennedy (6, Misplayed grounder)
Washington Nationals
Luis Atilano (L,5-3) 5763223 4.34
Tyler Walker 2211110 3.98
Doug Slaten 1000000 1.74
HBP - Donald (by Doug Slaten)
WP - Luis Atilano (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Luis Atilano 103-58, Tyler Walker 33-20, Doug Slaten 17-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luis Atilano 10-4, Tyler Walker 3-2, Doug Slaten 1-2
Batters Faced - Luis Atilano 25, Tyler Walker 9, Doug Slaten 4
Cleveland Indians
Trevor Crowe, CF5012003 .250
Shin-Soo Choo, RF4010101 .293
Carlos Santana, C3100102 .000
Russell Branyan, 1B4100013 .244
Austin Kearns, LF4224011 .307
Travis Hafner, DH3121100 .244
Jhonny Peralta, 3B4120011 .255
Luis Valbuena, 2B4110002 .172
Jason Donald, SS2000002 .237
Totals3379733  
Batting
2B - Travis Hafner (11, Atilano), Jhonny Peralta (17, Atilano)
HR - Austin Kearns 2 (7, Atilano, Atilano), Travis Hafner (6, Atilano)
SH - Jason Donald (2)
RBI - Trevor Crowe 2 (14), Austin Kearns 4 (31), Travis Hafner (23)
2-OUT RBI - Austin Kearns 3 (13)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Peralta-Branyan, Donald-Valbuena-Branyan, Donald-Valbuena-Branyan
E - Luis Valbuena (6, Misplayed grounder)
Cleveland Indians
Jake Westbrook (W,4-3) 7.1722250 4.62
Tony Sipp0000100 6.53
Chris Perez (S,6) 1.2000100 2.59
Pitches-Strikes - Jake Westbrook 113-66, Tony Sipp 7-3, Chris Perez 17-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jake Westbrook 11-4, Chris Perez 1-3
Batters Faced - Jake Westbrook 29, Tony Sipp 1, Chris Perez 5
Game Information
Attendance - 22041
Game Time - 2:44
Temperature - 79
Umpires - Home - Phil Cuzzi, First Base - Jerry Crawford, Second Base - Brian O'Nora, Third Base - Scott Barry