CINCINNATI (AP) - The Indians finished interleague play thinking: Not bad at all.
Edgar Renteria hit his first homer since his World Series MVP performance, helping the Cincinnati Reds break out of their offensive slump and beat the Indians 7-5 on Sunday, their only win of the season against their intrastate rival.
The Indians took five of six in the series, matching its best result. The Reds also went 5-1 in 2008.
After getting swept in San Francisco, the Indians won four of six in Arizona and Cincinnati to retake first place in the AL Central.
``I'm just glad the road trip is over,' manager Manny Acta said. ``I'm happy with the results. I'm extremely happy with the way we bounced back in Arizona and here, especially without having (DH Travis) Hafner.'
The problem on Sunday was another erratic start by Mitch Talbot.
Chris Heisey also homered off Talbot (2-5), who has struggled with consistency since returning from a sore elbow. The Reds piled up six runs and 10 hits in his four innings.
``I'm trying to figure out what's the difference between my good starts and my bad starts,' Talbot said. ``I don't know what to do right now.'
Mike Leake (8-4) became the Reds' first eight-game winner, matching his career high with eight strikeouts in six innings. Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 17th save in 19 chances.
Five players learned before the game that they'll be headed to Arizona for the All-Star game next week - Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera and Chris Perez, Cincinnati's Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips and Jay Bruce. Instead of the stars, the reserves rallied Cincinnati to its breakthrough win.
Renteria had a pair of hits, including his first homer in 130 at_bats this season. He hit three for the Giants last season, and two more in the World Series. Heisey also had a pair of hits during a rare start in center field. Miguel Cairo filled in at third base and had a pair of hits and scored twice.
Cincinnati is delighted to be done with interleague play. The defending NL Central champions went only 6-12 against the American League, keeping them stuck a few games out of first place at the season's midpoint.
By contrast, the AL Central-leading Indians prospered, going 11-7 in interleague games even though they couldn't use Hafner as a DH on the road.
The Reds put together a bunch of hits that went between fielders, over outstretched gloves and - in Renteria's case - barely over the outfield wall. His solo homer in the sixth barely cleared the yellow padding atop the wall in right and made it 7-2.
It was another disappointing showing for Talbot, who was on the disabled list in May with a sore pitching elbow. In eight starts since returning, he is 1-5 and has allowed 31 earned runs in 40 2-3 innings.
``It's usually the first inning that gets me,' said Talbot, who didn't have a problem with it this time. ``Once I get through that, I cruise. I'm not too sure what happened today.'
Since a brief demotion in May, Leake has been one of the Reds' most consistent starters, going 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA in eight appearances. Shelley Duncan hit a two-run homer in the second, and Grady Sizemore had a two-run single in the sixth.
NOTES: The Indians lead the all-time series 39-36. ... Cabrera is the first Indians SS to make the All-Star game since Omar Vizquel in 2002, Perez the first closer since Bob Wickman in 2005. ... OF Travis Buck missed his second straight game with a tight left hamstring. ... RH Fausto Carmona went on the 15-day DL with a strained right thigh, suffered during his tumble at first base on Saturday. Perez, who had been in Florida for his grandmother's funeral, was activated off the bereavement list. ... The Indians signed 16-year-old SS Dorssys Paulino from the Dominican Republic. He's the son of Jesus Sanchez, a left-hander who played for the Marlins, Cubs, Rockies, and Reds from 1998-2004. He'll enter Cleveland's new academy in the Dominican.
The Associated Press News Service
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