Houston, TX – Ubaldo Jimenez tossed 6 2/3 shutout innings to lead the Cleveland Indians past the Houston Astros, 2-0, in the first of a three-game interleague set at Minute Maid Park.
Jimenez (7-5) gave up just four hits and struck out eight as the Indians won their fourth straight. Three of the victories have come by two runs or fewer.
"When you win close ball games it's hard," said Indians manager Manny Acta. "It means you can't go back and look at mistakes you have made that cost you the game. If it had been the other way around... you can always look back at situations where you could have scored runs."
Asdrubal Cabrera scored and drove in a run and Michael Brantley also had an RBI for the Tribe, who are coming off a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds.
Chris Perez struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his major-league best 23rd save.
Lucas Harrell (6-6) allowed a run on two hits and had a career-high nine strikeouts over seven frames for the Astros.
"I work fast to keep batters off-balance," said Harrell, "so the ball's in my court instead of theirs."
Chris Johnson had two hits and Brian Bogusevic doubled for Houston, losers in three straight and eight of its last 10.
Cleveland took an early 1-0 lead in the first. Shin-Soo Choo tripled into the left-field corner, then scored on Cabrera's sacrifice fly. Choo's triple landed just inside the line before rattling around in the corner to allow him to take third.
The Indians looked to add to their lead in the seventh with the bases loaded and one out, but Bogusevic caught a ball in foul territory and fired it home to cut down Carlos Santana, who attempted to tag up on the play.
In the eighth Jordan Schafer drove a ball deep to right but Choo caught it against the wall to preserve the shutout.
Cleveland added one in the ninth to go up 2-0. Cabrera singled, moved to second when Jason Kipnis walked, then scored when Brantley roped a single to right center.
Jimenez is 4-0 lifetime against the Astros...The Tribe picked up their fifth shutout of the season...Perez has converted 23 saves in a row since blowing a save on Opening Day...The Astros wore retro uniforms, part of "Flashback Fridays" at Minute Maid Park...Harrell lost at home for the first time this season.