|Cleveland (24-18) «||1||0||1||0||1||2||0||0||x||5||12||0|
CLEVELAND -- When the bullpen door swung open, Chris Perez braced himself.
After criticizing Cleveland's fans for failing to support the first-place Indians, Perez wasn't sure what to expect when he came in for the ninth inning with another game on the line.
As he entered the field, there was only one sound.
The roar carried him.
"That's the loudest I've ever been cheered here," Perez said after earning his 14th save in Cleveland's 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers. "It didn't go unnoticed, trust me. I'm humbled. That was really nice."
Greeted by a standing ovation from the time he exited the bullpen, Perez worked another scary ninth inning as the Indians ended a 10-game losing streak to Detroit.
On Saturday, Perez ripped Cleveland's fans for booing him during a recent appearance and called the Indians' major league-worst attendance "an embarrassment" for a team that contended most of last season and is off to another strong start.
He got them both.
"I like to face those guys," he said.
After striking out Cabrera looking and getting Fielder on a grounder to short, fireworks exploded above Progressive Field as Perez shook hands with his teammates and enjoyed a save that began with his emotional trip to the mound.
"I was pumped, the adrenaline was going. It could have gone the other way," said Perez, who hasn't blown a save since opening day. "I came through. I didn't know which way it was going to go. I was thankful it went the good way."
Travis Hafner had two RBIs for Cleveland, which hadn't beaten the Tigers since Aug. 10 last season.
With Cleveland leading 5-3, Perez raced in from the bullpen as Prodigy's "Firestarter" boomed from the ballpark's loudspeakers. There wasn't a single boo to be heard as the right-hander kicked the dirt around the rubber.
After getting one out, he walked Ramon Santiago and whenAndy Dirks followed with a single, the 15,049 fans -- many of them Detroit backers -- grew restless. But Perez got Cabrera to look at a third strike and punctuated the punch out with a fist pump.
Then, throwing a rare sinker on a 3-1 pitch, he retired Fielder on a hard grounder.
"We had the guys up there we wanted," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "The guy [Perez] threw a nasty, nasty pitch to Cabrera and then Prince hit the ball hard, but at a guy."
Alex Avila hit a three-run homer for the Tigers, who slammed shut Cleveland's playoff hopes last season.
"We got off to a good start against them last year and we all know what happened at the end," Perez said.
Before Perez came on, Vinnie Pestano worked a perfect eighth, striking out Avila to end the inning. Pestano set a team record for a reliever by striking out at least one batter in 22 consecutive outings since Sept. 25.
Jimenez didn't take any chances with Detroit's big bats.
He walked Cabrera three times, struck out Fielder once and got the Tigers' high-priced slugger, whose $23 million salary this season is a third of Cleveland's entire payroll, to bounce into a double play in the fifth.
It was another positive performance for the inconsistent Jimenez, who allowed three runs and three hits and managed to work around his lack of control. He walked six, but was only burned by one of them as a one-out pass set up Avila's homer in the second.
Porcello gave up four earned runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Before the game, Perez said the Tigers would be "a good measuring stick" and tried to soften some of his previous comments about Cleveland's fans by saying he wanted to stay with the team and that his motives for speaking out were not to be traded.
Afterward, Perez said he had no regrets about his comments, which touched off all kinds of emotions in Cleveland.
"I said a lot of stuff the last couple days. I meant every word of it," he said. "Sometimes it's not fun playing anywhere. I'm here. I'm here for the long haul. I know the fans are going to come back. At that point in time, I was frustrated and I vented. The fans have always been good to me. Some fans have said it's not all of us it's some of us, and I understand that.
"I know our fans are faithful and die-hards. They just need a little kick in the butt sometimes."
|Chris Perez (right) -- cheered after ripping Cleveland fans -- helps the Indians end a 10-game skid to the Tigers. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Ramon Santiago, 2B||4||0||1||0||1||0||1||.188|
|Andy Dirks, LF||5||0||2||0||0||1||2||.340|
|Miguel Cabrera, 3B||2||0||0||0||3||1||3||.304|
|Prince Fielder, 1B||5||0||0||0||0||1||6||.292|
|Delmon Young, DH||3||0||1||0||1||0||1||.248|
|Brennan Boesch, RF||4||1||1||0||0||1||3||.239|
|Jhonny Peralta, SS||3||1||0||0||1||0||0||.262|
|Alex Avila, C||3||1||1||3||1||1||0||.224|
|Don Kelly, CF||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.172|
|2B - Brennan Boesch (5, Jimenez)|
|HR - Alex Avila (5, Jimenez)|
|RBI - Alex Avila 3 (17)|
|SB - Andy Dirks (1, 2nd base off Jimenez/Santana)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|Outfield Assists - Brennan Boesch 1|
|DP - Boesch-Avila|
|E - Rick Porcello (1, Throwing)|
|Rick Porcello (L,3-4)||5.1||8||5||4||3||6||0||5.29|
|WP - Rick Porcello (2)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Rick Porcello 100-61, Duane Below 28-18, Luke Putkonen 23-14|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Rick Porcello 5-5, Duane Below 2-0, Luke Putkonen 1-2|
|Batters Faced - Rick Porcello 27, Duane Below 6, Luke Putkonen 6|
|Shin-Soo Choo, RF||4||2||2||0||1||0||1||.274|
|Jason Kipnis, 2B||5||1||1||0||0||3||4||.254|
|Asdrubal Cabrera, SS||4||0||1||1||1||1||4||.308|
|Travis Hafner, DH||3||0||1||2||0||0||1||.240|
|Carlos Santana, C||3||0||1||0||1||0||2||.262|
|Michael Brantley, CF||4||1||2||0||0||1||2||.261|
|Johnny Damon, LF||3||0||0||0||0||2||1||.164|
|Aaron Cunningham, LF||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.208|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||4||1||3||1||0||0||0||.225|
|Jose Lopez, 3B||3||0||1||1||1||1||1||.280|
|2B - Shin-Soo Choo (11, Porcello), Asdrubal Cabrera (13, Porcello), Casey Kotchman (6, Putkonen), Jose Lopez (5, Porcello)|
|SF - Travis Hafner (3)|
|RBI - Asdrubal Cabrera (19), Travis Hafner 2 (21), Casey Kotchman (15), Jose Lopez (9)|
|2-OUT RBI - Travis Hafner (4)|
|SB - Shin-Soo Choo (7, 2nd base off Porcello/Avila), Michael Brantley 2 (6, 2nd base off Porcello/Avila, 2nd base off Putkonen/Avila)|
|Team LOB - 10|
|Outfield Assists - Shin-Soo Choo 1|
|DP - Jimenez-A. Cabrera-Kotchman|
|Ubaldo Jimenez (W,5-3)||6||5||3||3||6||2||1||5.02|
|Tony Sipp (H,7)||0.2||0||0||0||1||1||0||5.40|
|Joe Smith (H,7)||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.89|
|Vinnie Pestano (H,11)||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||2.55|
|Chris Perez (S,14)||1||1||0||0||1||1||0||3.12|
|WP - Ubaldo Jimenez 2 (7)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Ubaldo Jimenez 99-58, Tony Sipp 17-9, Joe Smith 1-1, Vinnie Pestano 10-7, Chris Perez 20-12|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Ubaldo Jimenez 7-8, Tony Sipp 1-0, Vinnie Pestano 1-1, Chris Perez 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Ubaldo Jimenez 28, Tony Sipp 3, Joe Smith 1, Vinnie Pestano 3, Chris Perez 5|
|Attendance - 15049|
|Game Time - 3:04|
|Temperature - 61|
|Umpires - Home - Scott Barry, First Base - Jerry Meals, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Paul Emmel|