- 142 wins
- 110 wins
PHOENIX -- J.J. Putz knew it, Orlando Cabrera knew it, Kirk Gibson knew it, Manny Acta supposedly knew it and one hanging slider later, the 25,726 in attendance at Chase Field knew it.
Cabrera hits Putz well.
"Very well," the D-backs closer said. "Very, very well."
Cabrera showed how well in the ninth inning on Monday night, pulling a breaking ball from Putz just over the fence in left field for a go-ahead home run as the Indians beat the D-backs, 5-4.
"I know [Acta] won't admit it," the Indians shortstop said. "But he knows I hit Putz."
Cabrera snapped the Indians' three-game losing streak and gave the D-backs a three-game losing streak of their own.
"He's one of those guys that's had his number," Gibson said.
Cabrera was inserted into the game in a seventh-inning double switch, when Acta called on Tony Sipp to relieve Joe Smith.
"He probably knew that if I got in the game late, it would work out real good," Cabrera said.
And it did work out real good, just as half of Cabrera's career at-bats against Putz have worked out well. The 15-year veteran is 6-for-12 lifetime against Putz with three RBIs.
"I hadn't thrown him any breaking balls throughout any of our matchups really," Putz said. "I tried to get ahead with one, missed off the plate, tried to throw a quality one on the outside corner and it just kind of hung up there.
"He's a veteran hitter," Putz added. "He knows what to do with it."
The blown save was Putz's third of June, after going the first two months of the season without one.
"He struggled tonight," Gibson said. "We've used him a lot, I've been trying to rest him a little more, but he's still our guy. He's fine."
After scoring three runs on three hits in the first inning, the D-backs bats went silent over six innings, hitless until Wily Mo Pena's pinch-hit single in the eighth inning with the team trailing, 4-3.
One batter later, after a failed bunt attempt, Kelly Johnson tripled into the gap in right-center to score Pena and tie the game. But with the heart of the order to follow and no outs, the home team was unable to plate the go-ahead run from third.
"We just didn't get them in," Gibson said.
The D-backs were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
"We've been struggling with runners in scoring position recently," he said. "You have your [Nos.] 2, 3, 4, 5 hitters up and they navigated through us and out-executed us in that situation."
Trailing, 3-2, in the sixth inning, Cleveland scored on a pair of one-out singles from Travis Buck and Lonnie Chisenhall -- making his Major League debut -- against D-backs starter Ian Kennedy to take the lead.
Kennedy pitched eight innings, allowed four runs on eight hits, struck out eight and walked one.
"I didn't have my best stuff tonight," Kennedy said. "And I didn't feel like I pitched well enough to win tonight, either."
He pitched eight innings for a team-leading seventh time in the no-decision.
"Ian pitched fine," Gibson said. "He gave us a chance to win, which is what we always look for. He pitched eight innings, we had our opportunity to win in the eighth inning and unfortunately it didn't work out."
Both starting pitchers had rocky first innings. Kennedy allowed a two-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera, and his counterpart Mitch Talbot allowed three runs on three hits and a walk.
Both settled down from there, with Kennedy retiring a career-high 10 straight batters between the second and fourth innings and Talbot allowing only one baserunner -- on a second-inning walk -- throughout the remainder of his night.
Talbot pitched five innings, allowed three runs on three hits, struck out two and walked two.
"They got what they wanted out of him," Gibson said. "Their bullpen is rested and they've been effective that way. That's the strength of their team."
After Talbot exited, the Cleveland bullpen tandem of Smith, Sipp, Vinnie Pestano, Rafael Perez and Chris Perez pitched four innings of three-hit baseball, allowing one run.
Chris Perez picked up his 19th save of the year in the win, which kept the Indians one game back of the Tigers in the American League Central. The loss dropped the D-backs to two games behind the Giants in the National League West.
"It's disappointing," Gibson said of the loss. "But it's just part of a baseball season. You just have to endure through it and tomorrow, we can start a new spring."
Anthony Fenech is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.