Indians' 14 hits help Lowe beat Angels, 12-3

Associated Press Modified: July 4, 2012 at 8:16 pm •  Published: July 4, 2012
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CLEVELAND (AP) — Travis Hafner returned to Cleveland's lineup and the Indians' Derek Lowe got back in the win column.

Lowe won for the first time in more than a month as Cleveland pounded out 14 hits, including three-run homers by Michael Brantley and Casey Kotchman, to beat the Los Angeles Angels 12-3 Wednesday.

Hafner went 1 for 3 with two walks in his first game since having right knee surgery May 31.

Lowe (8-6) gave up three runs and 11 hits in six innings for his first win in six starts since June 1. The 39-year-old was 0-3 with a 7.71 ERA in five outings between victories.

"It's great to see the guys get a lot of runs," Lowe said. "Then it's up to me not to walk guys and give it back."

Michael Brantley hit a three-run homer in the first inning off Ervin Santana (4-9) and Casey Kotchman had a three-run shot in a six-run second as Cleveland took a 9-1 lead.

Johnny Damon had a season-high three of Cleveland's 14 hits. The Indians totaled 21 runs in two wins after being shut out 3-0 in the series opener.

"We had a lot of quality at-bats and you could see Hafner's effect right away," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "He just wore out Santana and then Brantley hit that homer."

With two outs and Jason Kipnis on first with a walk, Hafner drew an 11-pitch walk. Brantley followed with his second homer for a 3-0 lead.

"Brantley got a good pitch to hit," Damon said. "Certain players (Hafner) make others around them better."

The Angels loaded the bases with no outs in the second, but scored only once.

Lowe threw a called third strike past Erick Aybar before Maicer Izturis grounded into a run-scoring forceout. With runners on first and third, Jack Hannahan ranged behind the bag at third to get a grounder hit by Bobby Wilson. His long throw got the slow-running catcher by a step at first for the third out.

"That was huge," Acta said. "Guys with that power sinker are always one pitch away from doing that, getting the ground ball. He made 18 first-pitch strikes and knows how to pitch with a lead."

Lowe said getting Aybar relieved some of the pressure.

"The biggest pitch was the 3-2 curve for the strikeout," he said. "But pitching in games like this isn't always easy. You afraid to nibble and walk guys, but don't want to throw it down the middle, either."

Cleveland made it 9-1 in the bottom half. Shin-Soo Choo had an RBI double and Asdrubal Cabrera a run-scoring groundout. First baseman Albert Pujols fielded Cabrera's ball, but dropped it before he could throw home and settled for picking it up and stepping on the bag for the out. Choo took third play and scored on Kipnis' single for a 6-1 lead.

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