Indians' power drought continues in loss to Angels
CLEVELAND (AP) The power has gone out at Progressive Field.
And the Cleveland Indians were in the dark once again Saturday in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
The Indians' streak without a home run reached 10 games in their latest defeat. Cleveland hasn't hit a homer in 10 games, its longest streak in nearly 30 years. To break it down even further, the Indians haven't homered in 93 innings and 334 at-bats.
Cleveland hit a home run in its first nine games of the season, but no Indians batter has homered since Carlos Santana's three-run blast in the fifth inning against Seattle on April 17.
"That's how the game goes," said manager Manny Acta. "It evens out. We're going to hit another one, believe me. When you have such a long season, everything comes in cycles."
Cleveland went 14 games without a homer from April 10-22, 1983. The Indians' last home run at home was by Shelley Duncan in the seventh inning against Chicago on April 11.
The Indians were no match for Angels right-hander Dan Haren, who allowed one run in eight innings. Haren (1-1) gave up four hits, struck out seven and walked two. Cleveland's only run came on Jack Hannahan's two-out RBI single in the fourth.
"He does what he always does," leadoff hitter Michael Brantley said of Haren. "He keeps you off-balance. He throws all his pitches for strikes. He throws what looks like a good strike and it ends up as a ball. He's a good pitcher."
Haren has won his last three decisions against the Indians and is 4-2 in 11 career starts versus Cleveland.
"We couldn't do anything against Haren," Acta said. "He's a guy if you don't get him early, once he gets in a rhythm he's very tough. We have struggled against him for a while now."
Scott Downs worked a perfect ninth for his first save.
Cleveland's offense matched the elements. The game was delayed at the start by a cold drizzle for 147 minutes and an announced crowd of 11,316 braved temperatures in the low 40s.
The lack of offense ruined a strong outing by Jeanmar Gomez, who was making his first start since serving a five-game suspension for hitting a batter on April 14. Gomez (1-1) struck out a career-high seven over six innings. The right-hander gave up five hits, two runs and two walks.
"Gomez did a fantastic job," Acta said. "He pitched ahead the whole day and was able to throw his slider at will for strikes. He went toe-to-toe with Haren and gave us an opportunity."
In the Angels' first inning, Howie Kendrick drew a one-out walk, took third on Albert Pujols' single and scored on a single by Kendrys Morales that bounced just beyond the reach of two infielders for a 1-0 lead. Torii Hunter hit a solo homer in the fourth for Los Angeles, which snapped a five-game losing streak.
Pujols went 1 for 4, but still hasn't gone deep in an Angels uniform, a streak of 21 games and 84 at-bats. He has not connected since Sept. 22, an overall stretch of 113 at-bats, and remains stuck at 445 career homers.
"(Gomez) pitched a strong game for them and then we didn't have any good looks against their bullpen," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "It was a well-pitched game by both teams."
The Indians squeaked out a 3-2 win Friday night, but were held scoreless over six innings against Jered Weaver.
"You've got to give it to those guys that we've been seeing," Acta said. "Back-to-back guys who are probably No. 1 (starters) on any other team. To be the best, you've got to beat the best. You can't be expecting to always be beating the No. 4 and No. 5 on the other clubs. That's how you get better and prepare yourself for taking the next step."
The news doesn't get any better for the Indians in the series finale Sunday. Right-hander Ervin Santana is scheduled to start - his first appearance against Cleveland since pitching a no-hitter at Progressive Field on July 27. On a positive note, Santana has allowed a league-high 10 home runs.
The Indians were playing their third straight game without No. 3 hitter Shin-Soo Choo, who is out with a tight hamstring. Choo was scheduled to test the leg by running in the outfield before the game, but the poor weather conditions scrapped that plan.
"He's still feeling something there," Acta said. "That's the report we've gotten from the training staff. He is not available, not even to pinch hit. We are short on the bench as it is. I don't want to use him then have to use a pinch runner, too."
Notes: The Indians are 3-7 at home. ... Cleveland has 99 walks, most in the majors. ... The Indians are 6-1 in one-run games. ... Hannahan is batting .583 (7 for 12) with runners in scoring position and two outs. ... RHP Derek Lowe starts for the Indians on Sunday. ... Cleveland is 2-3 on its homestand and has scored 12 runs.
Updated April 28, 2012