Kazmir, bullpen blank Marlins
The booming hip-hop on the stereo in the Cleveland Indians’ postgame clubhouse was quickly dialed down to low volume, and the celebration following their 15th shutout victory of the season was muted.
The team had a plane to catch, and a big series to play.
Scott Kazmir and three relievers combined on a four-hitter Sunday, and Cleveland won for the 10th time in the past 11 games, beating the Miami Marlins 2-0.
Tonight, the Indians begin a four-game series at home against AL Central leader Detroit. With the win over Miami, Cleveland remains three games behind the Tigers.
“I’d rather be 10 up,” manager Terry Francona said. “But this makes this really exciting. We get to play the best team in our division and see how we can do.”
The Indians took two of three games from Miami despite scoring a total of only six runs.
Kazmir (7-4) won his fourth decision in a row by limiting the Marlins to two hits in six innings.
Bryan Shaw, Joe Smith and Chris Perez pitched one inning each for the Indians, who lead the majors in shutouts.
“It means we’re getting some solid pitching,” Francona said. “And if you’re going to go somewhere in this game, you need pitching.”
Shaw gave up two singles in the seventh but also struck out the side. Perez earned his 17th save in 19 chances by pitching a perfect ninth with the help of a diving catch by center fielder Michael Bourn.
Kazmir was pleased with his outing, the 200th of his career, but the left-hander’s grin grew widest as he discussed his fifth-inning single, his first hit since 2007.
“That was great,” he said. “A lot of trash-talking has been going on the past couple of days — actually pretty much the whole year. So it was good to get that.”
Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley drove in runs. Catcher Yan Gomes had three hits, scored a run and picked a runner off first.
Manager Jack McKeon and 13 players from the Marlins’ 2003 World Series championship team were on hand to celebrate their 10-year anniversary, but their success wasn’t contagious.
Miami, which ranks last in the majors in runs and batting, was shut out for the 13th time. With runners in scoring position, the Marlins went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.
“We’re not getting a ton of hits, and in a game like this that hurts you,” manager Mike Redmond said.
Slumping slugger Giancarlo Stanton went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and finished the series 1 for 11 with five strikeouts, dropping, his average to .245.
“It’s something you just go through, and it always works itself out eventually,” he said.