Indians win to close within half-game of wild card

Published on NewsOK Modified: September 19, 2013 at 11:07 pm •  Published: September 19, 2013

"It's one thing to get beat, but it's another thing to beat yourself," he said. "We just squandered opportunity after opportunity with poor at-bats and bad baserunning. It's extremely frustrating because this is basic baseball. We should have won these last two games."

The Indians' playoff chase hasn't caught on with Cleveland fans, with only 12,607 in attendance Thursday night.

Both teams missed scoring chances in the ninth. Chris Perez worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the top half by striking out Brett Wallace and L.J. Hoes.

Brantley walked with one out in the bottom of the ninth, but was thrown out trying to steal second. After Aviles walked, Jason Giambi batted for Drew Stubbs. The 42-year-old veteran lined a 1-1 pitch from Josh Zeid into the right field corner that was foul by a couple of feet. Giambi then popped out to end the inning.

A baserunning blunder by pinch-runner Jake Elmore ended Houston's scoring threat in the 10th. Cody Clark led off with a double, but Elmore was picked off second by the catcher Gomes on the first pitch to Jonathan Villa. Cody Allen retired the next two hitters.

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed one run and struck out nine in seven innings. The right-hander has fanned 59 in his last 47 innings. Dallas Keuchel matched Jimenez, also allowing one run with seven strikeouts in seven innings.

The Indians were coming off a 5-2 road trip, sweeping four games in Chicago before losing two of three in Kansas City.

Jason Kipnis, snapping an 0-for-11 slump, gave Cleveland the lead with an RBI single in the first. Hoes tied the game with a sacrifice fly in the second.

Nick Swisher, who matched a career high with four hits, started the first-inning rally with a one-out double and scored when Kipnis, who was 4 for 21 on Cleveland's trip, lined a hit to center.

Houston loaded the bases on three singles with nobody out in the second, but scored only once. After Jimenez struck out Wallace, Hoes' fly ball to right was deep enough to score Marc Krauss.

NOTES: RHP Justin Masterson (strained left oblique) will throw a bullpen session Friday, his first time since being injured on Sept. 2. It's still uncertain if he will return this season. ... OF Trevor Crowe, the Indians' No. 1 pick in 2005, batted third and played center field for the Astros. ... Cleveland 3B coach Brad Mills managed the Astros from 2010-2012 before being fired late last season. ... Indians RHP Zach McAllister (8-9) takes on Astros LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-3) in the second game of the four-game series Friday.