Jeremy Sowers ... second win of the season.
It was just like old times for not only Jeremy Sowers and Jensen Lewis but the Indians, too. Lewis saved a win for Sowers, as he used to at Vanderbilt University. The right-hander's good work to close out a 4-3 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday brought back memories of when Cleveland had a bullpen that could finish the job. It was far from a perfect ninth inning, but it got the job done.
"If Jeremy doesn't pitch like he did, I don't get a chance to do what I did," Lewis said after earning his third career save. "He did a tremendous job."
So did Sowers after giving up two more runs in the first inning to trail, 2-0. The left-hander has a 9.00 ERA in the first inning of his 15 starts this season.
"Jeremy had a good changeup, a little better fastball, too," Indians manager Eric Wedge said. "He battled back and gave us a chance to win."
Perfect relief by Rafael Perez, who struck out three over his 1 1/3 innings of work, preceded Lewis' gutsy ninth inning.
Wedge positioned his defense to try and prevent an extra-base hit and it nearly cost Cleveland anyway.
With the outfielders playing back to try and take away any potential doubles or triples hit over their heads, Juan Rivera blooped a single in front of centerfielder Grady Sizemore to open the ninth.
"It was a good pitch, but fell in," Lewis explained. "It happens. I just had to ignore it and go get the next guy."
Gary Matthews ran for Rivera and was bunted over to second base by pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez. Pinch-hitter Kendry Morales singled Matthews to third -- then Lewis got Chone Figgins on an infield popout and Erick Aybar to foul out to left fielder Ben Francisco.
As Tribe announcer Tom Hamilton said: "Ballgame!"
Lewis said he was concerned when facing Figgins, a good contact hitter, but was able to jam him with a good fastball.
"You talk about the definition of a save and that's it," Wedge said. "Lewis showed a lot of moxie out there. We were playing 'no doubles' on defense, so that first ball drops in. Jensen had to bow his neck and that's what he did."
Franklin Gutierrez had three hits, including a two-run single to help the Indians take two of three in the series from the Angels.
The Indians took a 3-2 lead in the third inning with a plucky hit. With Jamey Carroll on third base and two outs, Ryan Garko checked his swing and hit a high bouncer over the head of pitcher Joe Saunders for an RBI single. Carroll scored easily as Saunders fell down while going for the ball, then collided with second baseman Howie Kendrick.
The Angels tied it in the fifth with an unearned run, but Cleveland scored once against former Indians reliever Justin Speier in the sixth.
Catcher Sal Fasano, whose passed ball gave the Angels their third run, hit a leadoff double. He went to third on a bunt. Speier then jammed Sizemore with an inside fastball, but cleveland's all-star fought it off and plunked a blooper to right-center for an RBI single.
"This was just like college," Lewis said. "Jeremy would start and I would finish. I told him during the anthem, 'I'm going to come in and save it for you.'
"That's what you want to do in this role, get the final out, shake hands with all your teammates and send everybody home happy."