Pavano won for the fifth time in six starts, Ryan Garko(notes) homered for the third time in two games and the Cleveland Indians beat the Tampa Bay Rays without needing a big comeback, 5-1 on Tuesday night.
The right-hander’s comeback is more impressive than the Indians overcoming a 10-0 deficit to beat the Rays on Monday night.
Pavano (5-4) allowed one run and four hits over seven innings. He walked two and struck out six to enhance an outstanding month. He’s 5-1 with a 3.58 ERA and only seven walks against 30 strikeouts since May 1, when he got his first win of the season in Detroit.
“I’m feeling better, getting deeper in games,” Pavano said. “I didn’t exactly know what to expect this year, but I worked hard and stayed positive. There’s still a long way to go for me to be remotely settled in.”
Pavano’s 10th start this season surpassed by one his total for the previous three years. He was signed to a one-year contract as a free agent in January after four injury plagued years with the New York Yankees—where he missed the entire 2006 season and pitched only 45 2-3 innings in 2007-08 combined. He won only five games the last two years.
Garko hit his home run in the second inning after connecting twice and driving in five runs Monday night in Cleveland’s 11-10 win that was the biggest collapse in Tampa Bay history.
Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) and Kelly Shoppach(notes) also homered for the Indians, who won for the fifth time in seven games and earned their 15th consecutive home win over the Rays since Sept. 29, 2005.
Rays right-hander Matt Garza(notes) (4-3) struck out seven without issuing a walk, but couldn’t keep the ball in the park. He allowed four runs and five hits— three of them homers. He dropped to 1-4 in his career against Cleveland.
“I have to find a way to get past these guys,” Garza said. “I won’t face them again this year, but it’s still going to be in the back of my head not to let them beat me again.”
Garko hit the first pitch he saw from Garza over the wall in right-center with one out to put Cleveland ahead 1-0 in the second. On Monday night, Garko hit a two-run homer and three-run shot in the comeback.
Tampa Bay’s bad run continued before Tuesday’s game when shortstop Jason Bartlett(notes) was put on the 15-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle. Bartlett, a career .276 hitter, is batting .373 with seven homers, 30 RBIs and 14 stolen bases.
He joined second baseman Akinori Iwamura(notes), closer Troy Percival(notes), DH Pat Burrell(notes), staff ace Scott Kazmir(notes) and four others on the Rays’ crowded DL. Iwamura is lost for the season with a torn knee ligament, and Percival’s career might be over because of right shoulder tendinitis.
The Rays mustered little offense against Pavano until Carlos Pena(notes) hit his AL-leading 16th homer to lead off the Rays’ seventh. It ruined Pavano’s bid for his first shutout since May 17, 2005, when he was with the New York Yankees.
Rain delayed play 32 minutes in the bottom of the fourth. It drizzled throughout most of the final five innings. … Before the game, Cleveland optioned OF Matt LaPorta(notes) back to Triple-A Columbus and recalled OF Trevor Crowe(notes). LaPorta hit .190 (8 for 42) with one homer and four RBIs in his first 13 career games after being called up May 2. … After the game, the Indians sent LHP Rich Rundles(notes) to Columbus and recalled LHP Zach Jackson(notes) from the Clippers to start Wednesday night. … Crawford stole second in the fourth inning and is 30 for 30 in steal attempts. He has not been caught in 32 attempts since July 18.