has found his comfort zone - Progressive Field.
Cleveland's left-hander pitched effectively into the seventh inning to remain undefeated at home, and the Indians beat the
5-0 Tuesday night.
''Aaron set the tone,'' manager
said. ''He was consistent from inning to inning, aggressive and efficient.''
Laffey (6-3) allowed six hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings. He did not allow an earned run for the third time in four
starts since July 24 and moved to 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in five home starts this season.
''Coming out of the bullpen, I said to Shoppy (catcher
), 'It feels like I just pitched yesterday,''' Laffey said. ''It's good to stay in rhythm.''
In his outing six days earlier, Laffey gave up an unearned run in a career-high eight innings.
The resurgent Indians improved to 13-6 since losing 21 of 28 from June 15 to July 19. Texas came in tied with Boston for the
wild card lead in the AL, but fell to 3-5 in August.
''Obviously, we're a completely different ballclub,'' Wedge said of the Indians, who dealt away several veterans for young,
low-cost prospects just before the trading deadline. ''But the kids are fun to watch, hungry and learning. They take pride
in trying to win as many games as possible.''
(3-1) struck out a career-high 10 over six innings for Texas - a dominating performance except for the third inning, when
Cleveland's first five batters scored.
''That third inning was a disaster, I guess,'' Nippert said. ''I don't know what happened.''
each singled and Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch to load the bases.
drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 1-0,
had an RBI single,
a two-run double and
capped the rally with a sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead.
''The walk to Peralta was big,'' Nippert said. ''It was all downhill from there. I threw a lot of pitches. It felt like when
I tried harder they hit harder.''
Nippert threw 31 pitches in the third, then came back to strike out the side on 14 pitches in the fourth and work two more
''He showed something right there,'' Texas manager
said. ''He put three zeroes up there. It could have been worse.''
gave up one hit over one inning and
retired all four batters he faced, three on strikeouts, to finish Cleveland's fifth shutout. Texas has been shut out six times.
Laffey was helped by several good defensive plays in the infield and a sliding catch by right fielder Choo that took a hit
away from former Indians All-Star
in the fifth.
Texas loaded the bases in the first with the help of two walks, but Laffey got
to hit into an inning-ending double play.
''If I give up one or two runs there, it's all different,'' Laffey said. ''To get a groundball there was huge. I actually
missed my location, but he hit in on the ground. That's baseball. A few innings later, I threw a pitch a couple inches off
the ground and (Hank) Blalock hit it for a triple.''
In the seventh, Cabrera glided behind second base from his shortstop position to grab a sharp grounder and throw out
. On the next play, Cabrera ranged near the bag and threw out speedy
. The throw was scooped out of the dirt by first baseman
and Washington came out to protest that Andrus had beaten the throw.
The fielding gems were reminiscent of those made by Vizquel for 11 years through 2004 as a gold glove shortstop for the Indians.
Vizquel played second base for the Rangers and got a standing ovation when he led off the game from Cleveland fans who fondly
remember the 42-year-old. Vizquel went 2 for 4 and was also cheered on both of his singles.
NOTES: Texas 2B
will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Frisco on Wednesday and could return Friday to the Rangers. Kinsler has been out
since July 28 with a strained left hamstring. ... Texas lost minor league RHP John Bannister to Kansas City on a waiver claim.
... Indians RHP
, who had
surgery in June 2008, will not pitch again this season. He had soreness in a recent rehab start in the minors. ... Cabrera
has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games, going 30 for 86 (.349).