CLEVELAND (AP) - An ominous trend has developed for Anibal Sanchez this season.
On days the right-hander takes the mound, his teammates don't score runs.
That negative pattern continued Saturday when the Miami Marlins managed only three hits in a 2-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Sanchez (2-2) held the Indians to two runs in eight innings, but continued to be plagued by a lack of offensive support. The Marlins have scored only 14 runs this season while he's been on the mound, an average of 1.75 in his eight starts.
``He might not talk to his teammates,' joked Miami manager Ozzie Guillen.
Sanchez, who has recorded a quality start in every outing this season, has received four runs of support in his last three trips to the mound, which include two losses and a no-decision. He has allowed five earned runs in 21 innings in those starts.
``I never have complained about it,' said Sanchez, who gave up seven hits, walked two and struck out four. ``I need to keep working to keep the score close. I know (his teammates) want to do everything they can. That's baseball.'
Jeanmar Gomez (3-2) pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning and Asdrubal Cabrera homered to spark the Indians. Gomez allowed two Marlins to reach base in an inning only once, striking out four in 6 1-3 innings. Cabrera connected off Sanchez to put Cleveland ahead in the fourth.
Three relievers finished off the Indians' third shutout of the season. Chris Perez struck out the side on 10 pitches in the ninth for his 13th save in 14 chances. Perez threw nine strikes and the Marlins swung at only one of his pitches, a foul ball by Hanley Ramirez.
``We were looking for a walk to make sure the tying run got to home plate,' Guillen said with a laugh.
The Marlins have been shut out five times this season, including twice in the last three games.
``Very flat, we couldn't get anything going,' Guillen said of the offense's performance. ``The kid (Gomez) pitched well. I don't want to take any credit away from him, but it was a little bit different ballclub today. I don't want to say we we're down, but when the pitcher dominates you, you feel that way.'
Miami dropped to 13-5 in May, while Cleveland tied the three-game interleague series 1-1 by earning its fifth win in six games.
``I don't want to take this game as a negative because we've been playing great baseball,' Guillen said.
``Sanchez is a tough customer,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``Cabrera got a big home run off him. It was one of the few times I've seen Sanchez make a mistake. I'm glad Cabrera didn't miss it.'
It was a tough day for the Marlins. Center fielder Emilio Bonifacio, who leads the majors with 20 stolen bases, could be headed for the disabled list because of a sprained left thumb. He jammed his hand on a dive back to first base Friday. Bonifacio then was thrown out by catcher Carlos Santana, the first time he has been caught stealing this season.
Bonifacio will be examined by Marlins doctors when the team returns home to open a series against Colorado on Monday.
``This is a very tough part of the body, especially when you're trying to grip the bat,' Guillen said. ``In my mind, I am waiting for the worst. Just to make sure, if it comes, I'm prepared for that.'
Bonifacio's consecutive game streak was broken at 112.
Gomez's performance was the latest in a string of strong outings by Cleveland's rotation. Indians starters have worked six or more innings in 20 of the last 23 games, logging more innings than any other starting staff since April 27.
Gomez walked two and was in trouble only once, when the Marlins put runners on first and third with two outs in the third. He got Hanley Ramirez to fly out to right to end the threat.
The 24-year-old right-hander has made two straight strong starts after being tagged for a season-high eight runs in 6 2-3 innings by the Chicago White Sox on May 9. He gave up one unearned run in three hits in a no-decision Monday against Minnesota before shutting down the Marlins in his first career interleague appearance.
Joe Smith replaced Gomez with a runner on first and one out in the seventh and got Gaby Sanchez to ground into a double play. Vinnie Pestano pitched a perfect eighth, striking out one.
Cabrera broke a scoreless duel by hitting his fifth homer on an 0-2 pitch to lead off the fourth.
Cleveland made it 2-0 in the fifth when Shelley Duncan reached on an infield single and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Jason Kipnis.
Notes: Following the game the Marlins optioned 1B Gaby Sanchez to Triple-A New Orleans. ... Sanchez's eight straight quality starts are one short of the franchise record set by RHP Luis Aquino, who had nine straight quality starts in 1993, the Marlins' inaugural season in 1993. ... The Marlins are 7-4 against the Indians in interleague play since defeating Cleveland in the 1997 World Series. ... The series ends today when RHP Josh Johnson (1-3) faces RHP Derek Lowe (6-1). ... Four of Miami's shutouts have come on the road.
The Associated Press News Service
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