CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Indians still believe Fausto Carmona is their ace. He hasn't pitched like one.
Carmona (4-9) gave up a long three-run homer to Jason Giambi during Colorado's six-run, two-out rally in the fifth inning that carried the Rockies to an 8-7 win Monday night.
``He's pitching in five days again - that's our solution,' said manager Manny Acta, who continues to support the erratic right-hander in a quest to get him untracked.
Considered the club's No. 1 starter, Carmona is 1-5 with a 9.73 ERA since May 19. This loss snapped Cleveland's three-game winning streak as the Indians fell for the first time in seven interleague games.
``He lost his focus,' Acta said. ``For 4 2-3 innings, he was fantastic. That inning killed us.'
Carmona, speaking through interpreter Julio Rangel, had no explanation for his fifth-inning collapse.
``I don't know what went wrong because it happened so fast,' Carmona said. ``I felt good, but I could not get out of the inning.'
A 19-game winner in 2007, Carmona struggled so badly in 2009 that he was sent back to the low minors in the midst of a 5-12 season for the Indians. He insists his troubles this year are not related.
``Not at all,' he said. ``I'm making my pitches, but not getting results.'
Carmona began the inning by getting two routine groundouts before falling apart.
He walked No. 9 hitter Chris Iannetta, and following consecutive singles by Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Nelson, Carmona walked Todd Helton to force in a run. Troy Tulowitzki hit a hard hopper toward Orlando Cabrera - playing his first career game at third base in 15-plus seasons - that caromed off the bag, bringing in two runs to tie it 4-all.
Giambi then crushed his seventh homer in just 52 at_bats, a blast to the back of the Indians' bullpen in center field only a few feet from where reliever Chad Durbin was warming up. After Seth Smith doubled, Durbin replaced Carmona, who has been awful over the past month.
``It's definitely frustrating,' Indians catcher Lou Marson said. ``Those two-out walks hurt. It was so disappointing, because I thought he was going to roll. Then his sinker was running off the plate and he couldn't establish it.'
Acta is as frustrated as anyone, but remains in Carmona's corner.
``This is not fantasy baseball,' he said. ``We can't get anybody else. He's one of our guys.'
Giambi's 440-foot shot - his 422nd career homer - helped the Rockies win for the fifth time in six games and get back to .500 for the first time since May 25.
Matt Lindstrom (2-1), the second of five Rockies relievers, got the win. Huston Street worked the ninth for his NL-leading 21st save in 23 chances.
Travis Hafner hit a three-run homer and Carlos Santana had a solo shot for the Indians, who collected 12 hits in their first game with new hitting coach Bruce Fields. He replaced Jon Nunnally, who was fired on Saturday.
The Indians closed within 7-6 and chased starter Juan Nicasio in the fifth on Shin-Soo Choo's two-run bloop single. Cleveland left the bases loaded, however, when Gonzalez ran down Cabrera's sinking liner in right-center to end the inning.
The Rockies tacked on a run in the eighth on Marson's throwing error.
Cord Phelps' two-out RBI single in the eighth got the Indians within 8-7, but the rookie was thrown out trying to go to second on the play. TV replays appeared to show he had beat the tag.
``He (umpire Sam Holbrook) said he (second baseman Chris Nelson) got him on the arm and that he (Holbrook) was on top of the play,' Acta said. ``Obviously, he was wrong. Maybe some day we will get some of those calls.'
Santana's two-out homer in the fourth gave Cleveland a 4-1 lead. The switch-hitter pulled a 1-0 pitch just inside the right-field foul pole for his 10th homer.
Hafner's shot into the seats in right put the Indians up 3-1 in the first. Hafner, in his fourth game back after missing 28 with a strained side muscle, hit a 2-2 pitch for his sixth homer - and first since May 13, when he hit a walk-off to beat Seattle.
Notes: Cleveland has lost the last four meetings with the Rockies and is 7-9 against them. ... Choo has been showing signs of awakening from a season-long slump. He came in batting .438 (7 of 16) in his past five games. ``Very encouraging,' Acta said. ``We know what's coming, a few of those balls are going to find their way to the seats.' ... Rockies backup C Jose Morales had two pins surgically implanted in his right thumb. Manager Jim Tracy is encouraged Morales could be back by the end of the season, but will definitely be out ``a couple months.'
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved