Created on Saturday, 10 August 2013 Written by TOM WITHERS,AP Sports Writer
CLEVELAND (AP) — After the four-day pounding they took from the Tigers, the Indians figured this weekend would be a chance to climb back into contention against an easier team.
It hasn't started out that way.
The Angels aren't pushovers.
Josh Hamilton hit a three-run homer in the first inning off Scott Kazmir and Jered Weaver added another victory to his stellar resume at Progressive Field, leading Los Angeles to a 5-2 win over the Indians, who dropped their fifth straight and can't seem to shake their Detroit hangover.
The Angels jumped on Kazmir (7-5) for five runs in the first and Weaver (7-5) took care of the rest as the Angels added another loss onto this week of misery for Cleveland.
"When you're down 5-0, it's a hard way to play," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "We hit the ball all over the ballpark, but we just didn't get rewarded for it."
Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera homered for the Indians. Cleveland has now dropped five in a row at home after winning 11 straight.
Hamilton connected in the first when the Angels got four singles and a stolen base off Kazmir, who lost for the first time since June 10 — a span of 10 starts — and didn't get any redemption against the team that released him one start into his 2011 season.
Not that he was looking for any.
"There aren't any hard feelings or anything like that," he said. "It was business."
The Indians were counting on Kazmir to turn things around after the first-place Tigers came to town and ransacked their closest division rival. But the left-hander, who came in 5-0 in nine home starts this season, couldn't get out of the third inning against his former teammates.
Afterward, Kazmir, who has pitched 114 innings after throwing only 64 last season, said his arm is tired.
"It feels like I'm going through a little bit of dead-arm fatigue," he said. "I thought I could go out there and gut it out, but it just didn't work out. It's something I tried to battle through."
Kazmir was let go by the Angels two years ago, the beginning of a long trip back to the majors that detoured through independent ball. Last season, he pitched for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the Atlantic League, a world away from the AL he had known since 2004.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia admires Kazmir's perseverance.
"It says a lot that he didn't want to just take it to the ranch and relax and give up on something he loves to do," Scioscia said. "It's tough to see any player go through what Scott did. We saw it firsthand. It was really rough for him and disappointing for us. For a pitcher to rediscover himself like Scott has, it takes a lot of hard work and determination."
Kazmir, though, lasted just three innings, allowing five runs and six hits in his shortest outing since June 15.
"It didn't look like he had his best stuff to start," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "But some little things led to some bigger things and I think he's a little bit tired."
Although Kazmir struggled, the Indians got a strong performance from Carlos Carrasco, recalled earlier in the day to help a tired bullpen worn out by the Tigers. Carrasco pitched five shutout innings, holding the Angels to one hit.
"He was very good," Francona said. "It was good for the whole team's confidence. Any time you see somebody go out there and do what he did, that's terrific."
For some reason, Weaver (7-5) is king of the hill when he takes the mound in Cleveland. The right-hander has dominated in Progressive Field, going 6-0 with a 1.64 ERA in nine career starts. According to the Angels, he entered the game as the first pitcher since 1916 to be 5-0 or better with an ERA of 1.52 or lower at any road ballpark.
Afterward, Weaver was unaware of his supremacy in Northeast Ohio.
"I have no idea," Weaver said. "I'm not a numbers' guy. I feel comfortable in this park."
J.C. Gutierrez worked the eighth and rookie Dane De La Rosa had a 1-2-3 ninth for his first major league save. De La Rosa got a diving catch by left fielder Collin Cowgill for the first out, robbing Cabrera.
Kazmir's first inning couldn't have gone much worse — for him or the Indians.
J.B. Shuck led off with a single and went to third on Cowgill's blooper. Mike Trout walked on a pitch that could have been called strike three and Mark Trumbo followed with a two-run single. Trout stole third, and out later, Hamilton, in a 2-for-25 slump, launched his homer into the right-field seats to make it 5-0.
NOTES: Carrasco is the first Cleveland reliever to pitch five shutout innings since Jeremy Sowers in 2009. ... The loss was the Indians' first at hom in 12 games against AL West teams. They are 16-5 against Los Angeles, Texas, Seattle, Oakland and Houston this season. ... Kazmir lost at home for the first time in 10 starts in 2013. ... Cabrera had to be assisted from the field in the sixth inning when he got dirt in his eyes after recording a forecourt at second. He quickly recovered and came to bat in the seventh, lining out to center.