Aaron Laffey pitched effectively into the seventh inning to remain undefeated at home, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Texas Rangers 5-0 Tuesday night.
The resurgent Indians improved to 13-6 since losing 21 of 28 from June 15 to July 19. Texas came in tied with Boston for the wild card lead in the AL, but fell to 3-5 in August.
Laffey (6-3) allowed six hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings. He did not allow an earned run for the third time in four starts since July 24. In his previous outing, the left-hander gave up an unearned run in a career-high eight innings. He is 4-0 with a 1.59 ERA in five home starts this season.
Dustin Nippert (3-1) struck out a career-high 10 over six innings for Texas _ a dominating performance except for a third inning in which Cleveland's first five batters all scored.
Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera each singled and Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch to load the bases in the third. Jhonny Peralta drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 1-0, Travis Hafner had an RBI single, Luis Valbuena a two-run double and Trevor Crowe capped the rally with a sacrifice fly for a 5-0 lead.
Nippert came back to strike out the side on 14 pitches in the fourth. Overall, the right-hander allowed six hits, two walks and five runs.
Joe Smith gave up one hit over one inning and Tony Sipp retired all four batters he faced, three on strikeouts, to finish Cleveland's fifth shutout of the season. Texas has been shut out six times.
Laffey was helped by several good defensive plays in the infield and a sliding catch by right fielder Choo that took a hit away from former Indians All-Star Omar Vizquel in the fifth.
Texas loaded the bases in the first with the help of two walks, but Laffey got Josh Hamilton to hit into an inning-ending double play.
In the seventh, Cabrera glided behind second base from his shortstop position to grab a sharp grounder and throw out Jarrod Saltalamacchia. On the next play, Cabrera ranged near the bag and threw out speedy Elvis Andrus. The throw was scooped out of the dirt by first baseman Andy Marte and Rangers manager Ron Washington came out to protest that Andrus had beaten the throw.
The plays by Cabrera were reminiscent of those made by Vizquel for 11 years through 2004 as a gold glove shortstop for the Indians. Vizquel played second base for the Rangers and got a standing ovation when he led off the game from Cleveland fans who fondly remember the 42-year-old. Vizquel went 2 for 4 and was also cheered on both of his singles.
NOTES: Texas 2B Ian Kinsler will begin a rehab assignment at Double-A Frisco on Wednesday and could return Friday to the Rangers. Kinsler, batting .242 with 23 homers and 63 RBIs, has been out since July 28 with a strained left hamstring. ... Texas lost minor league RHP John Bannister to Kansas City on a waiver claim. ... Indians RHP Jake Westbrook, who had Tommy John surgery in June 2008, will not pitch again this season. He had soreness in a recent rehab start in the minors. ... Cabrera has hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games, going 30 for 86 (.349).