HOUSTON (AP) — The Cleveland Indians relied on their pitching again, and their offense came alive just in time to beat the Houston Astros.
Mike Aviles’ sacrifice fly in the 13th inning scored Jose Ramirez and gave the Indians a 2-1 win on Thursday night.
Ramirez doubled with one out before Samuel Deduno (2-6) walked Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana to set up Aviles’ fly to right. Jake Marisnick’s throw to the plate was offline, and Ramirez scored easily.
"When I first hit it, I was like, `Man, that would be my luck’ because I know Jake has a really good arm," Aviles said. "The first thing I thought was (Ramirez) would get thrown out. When I saw the throw, I thought we got this run, so we needed to hang on."
Kyle Crockett (4-0) got the Indians out of trouble in the 12th, and Cody Allen pitched the 13th for his 22nd save.
"I think we say every day that we need to be one run better," Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. "We’re sort of taking that to the extreme, but we won. And when you win a game like that, it doesn’t matter how hard it was when it’s over."
With the win, the Indians stayed within striking distance in the AL playoff chase with 10 games left. Cleveland is 5 games out in the AL Central race and four games off the pace in the chase for two wild card spots.
"The one thing we have to worry about is ourselves," Aviles said. "We have to come out and play every game and try to win every game. Whatever happens, happens. We are at a point where we kind of dug ourselves a hole with how we played earlier in the year.
"When you think about it, you have to go out there and try to win every game."
Santana tied it 1-1 in the ninth, driving in Ramirez with an RBI single to right off Chad Qualls. He got the final two outs of the inning to escape without further damage.
Cleveland’s pitching was superb in the four-game series against the Astros, allowing only six runs.
"Whatever it takes to win is what we have to try to do," Francona said.
Marisnick had an RBI single in the fourth to put Houston in front 1-0.
"That stings," Marisnick said of the loss. "For our pitchers to go out and pitch like they did and not give them some run support and get out of there with a win, it definitely stings a little bit."
Astros starter Scott Feldman allowed one run and four hits with two strikeouts as he pitched into the ninth inning for the third time in four starts. Feldman retired 15 straight batters before Lonnie Chisenhall’s two-out single in the eighth.
"He went out there and shut them down for eight innings," Astros interim manager Tom Lawless said of Feldman.
Cleveland starter Danny Salazar gave up one run and five hits with nine strikeouts in 7 1-3 innings.
Indians 2B Jason Kipnis left the game after the seventh inning because of right hamstring tightness. He is listed as day-to-day. Kipnis was replaced by Aviles.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (5-8) will take the mound Friday in the first of a three-game series at Minnesota. The Indians have lost each of Bauer’s last four starts after winning four straight.