CLEVELAND (AP) - The Cleveland Indians have mastered the art of pulling out late-inning wins at Progressive Field this season.
Thanks to Seth Smith, the Colorado Rockies turned the tables Tuesday night. Smith hit his second homer of the game off Chris Perez to snap a ninth-inning tie and give the Rockies a 4-3 win.
``It's part of the game,' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ``We're used to that now, especially the way we won so many games in the first month and a half of the season. They ended up scoring against our toughest guy out of the 'pen.'
Smith, who hit a two-run homer off Mitch Talbot in the sixth, belted a 2-2 pitch into the right-field seats for his eighth homer of the season and fourth career multihomer game.
Perez, who has converted 17 of 18 save chances, was brought in after the Indians tied the game in the eighth on RBI singles by Travis Hafner and Travis Buck.
Perez (2-3) took full blame for the loss.
``It was a hanging slider,' he said. ``I just didn't come through. It happens. Home runs are part of the game. Obviously, that's why we lost tonight.'
``He threw me some good fastballs,' Smith said. ``Then I hit a slider that I don't think is the best he's got. It wasn't where he wanted it.'
Matt Belisle (5-2) worked one inning for the win. Huston Street pitched the ninth for his major league-leading 22nd save in 24 chances. With lightning flashing, thunder rattling and rain falling, the right-hander gave up a two-out triple to Cord Phelps and walked Asdrubal Cabrera before striking out pinch-hitter Austin Kearns to end it.
Kearns, who has two RBIs in 87 at_bats, was batting for Adam Everett, who came into the game as a pinch-runner after Hafner's run-scoring hit in the eighth. Ironically, Hafner was thrown out on the bases to help snuff out a sixth-inning rally, which is one reason why Acta refused to second-guess himself for his decision in the eighth.
``I never managed a ballgame sitting in that dugout thinking about what I am going to answer after the game,' Acta said. ``If the guy had hit a double in the eighth inning and Hafner didn't score, it's the other way around. I don't care what people think or say. I'm trying to win ballgames here.'
Jason Giambi had three hits for Colorado, which has won six of seven and moved over .500 for the first time since the Rockies were 24-23 on May 24.
Cleveland's offensive woes continued. Since leading the AL Central by seven games on May 23, the Indians are 9-18 and have scored two or fewer runs 14 times.
Jhoulys Chacin held the Indians hitless into the sixth. Cleveland's bats came alive against Colorado's bullpen in the eighth.
Trailing 3-1, Hafner lined an RBI single off former teammate Rafael Betancourt. With runners on first and second, Belisle got two outs before Buck snapped an 0-for-24 streak with an RBI single to right for a 3-all tie. The inning ended when Jack Hannahan lined out to center.
``I thought we had a chance to win the ballgame in the eighth inning,' Acta said. ``Hannahan smoked the ball, but right at Carlos Gonzalez.'
In 6 2-3 innings, Chacin walked six, including two with one out in the sixth before Shin-Soo Choo grounded an RBI single up the middle on a 1-1 pitch for Cleveland's first hit to pull the Indians to 3-1.
``We couldn't get much going earlier against Chacin,' Acta said. ``He had some walks, but we couldn't get the big hit
Jonathan Herrera's two-out RBI single put Colorado ahead 1-0 in the fifth.
The Indians had a chance early against the right-hander, loading the bases with two outs in the third on three consecutive walks. Chacin came back to strike out Hafner on a 3-2 sinker.
Talbot allowed three runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings.
Notes: There has never been a no-hitter at Progressive Field, which opened in 1994. ... Hafner has 24 RBIs and is 17 for 33 (.515) with runners in scoring position. ... Acta reiterated his support of RHP Fausto Carmona and OF Grady Sizemore, but admitted the Indians must start getting better production from both former All-Stars. Sizemore grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. Since May 27, he has hit only .188 (16 for 85). Carmona is 1-5 with a 9.73 ERA since May 19.
The Associated Press News Service
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