Martinez's pinch-hitting rescues Tribe
The everyday catcher came off the bench for the game-winning single.
CLEVELAND (AP) -- Despite getting the day off, Victor Martinez knew he might be needed as a pinch-hitter.
Martinez singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 4-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday.
"It was kind of a day off for me, but I stayed ready," said Martinez, who is 7-for-15 (.467) with five RBIs in his career pinch-hitting.
Cleveland completed interleague play with a major league-best 15-3 record and improved to 22-10 overall since May 21.
The Reds went 7-8 against the American League, but have lost 14 of 16 road games to drop to 7-26 away from home overall.
Jody Gerut opened the eighth with a bloop double that fell in front of left-fielder Adam Dunn.
"As soon as he hit it, I froze," Dunn said. "By the time I saw it, it was too late. The glare was bad the entire game."
Gerut moved to third on a grounder, but could not score when Alex Cora grounded right to second baseman Rich Aurilia for the second out.
Martinez, batting for Josh Bard, fouled off four consecutive 1-2 pitches from David Weathers (4-1) before hitting a 2-2 pitch between first and second to score Gerut.
"I kept throwing him sinker after sinker that he fouled off," Weathers said. "I came in off the plate a little and he muscled it out there. It was a great at-bat."
Martinez extended his hitting streak to eight games during which he has hit .464 (13-for-28) with nine RBIs.
"I'm feeling better, more comfortable swinging," said Martinez, a .284 career hitter who is hitting just .239 overall and went to the plate with only a .207 average from the left side this year.
"He kept throwing it away, away, then I was able to get my hands through on an inside pitch," he said. "I was lucky it found a hole."
Wickman gets save
Bob Howry (5-2) got the final out of the eighth inning and Bob Wickman worked the ninth for his 21st save in 24 chances. It was Wickman's 100th save with Cleveland and 190th of his career.
Cleveland took a 3-2 lead in the fifth. Grady Sizemore doubled and advanced to third on a bunt single by Coco Crisp.
After Hafner struck out, Ben Broussard hit a one-hopper back to Aaron Harang (4-7), who hesitated before throwing to second to force Crisp. That cost the Reds a chance at a double play, and Sizemore scored easily.
"I turned and nobody was at the bag," Harang said. "I didn't want to throw it into center field. I had to wait for somebody to get there."
Shortstop Felipe Lopez viewed it differently.
"I guess he didn't have a good grip on the ball, so he took an extra step," he said. "I was there. He just didn't have the ball."
The Reds tied it in the eighth off Arthur Rhodes, who gave up a single to Sean Casey and walked Ken Griffey Jr. before getting Joe Randa to ground into a double play. Dunn then shattered his bat on a grounder right at second baseman Ronnie Belliard, who misplayed it for an error as Casey scored.
Indians starter C.C. Sabathia gave up two runs over five innings as he bounced back from two terrible starts in which he had allowed 15 runs over eight innings, raising his ERA from 3.91 to 4.66.
The left-hander battled through a rocky -- but scoreless -- first inning in which he made 31 pitches, gave up one hit, one walk and went to a 3-2 count on all five batters he faced. With two runners on, he struck out Casey and Griffey, then got Randa to foul out and end the threat.
The Reds broke through in the second. Wily Mo Pena hit a one-out single and scored when Jason LaRue hit his sixth homer on a 3-1 pitch to put Cincinnati ahead 2-0.
Hafner tied it with a two-run double with the bases loaded in the third.