Manager Eric Wedge likes to say it starts with starting pitching.
The manager of the Indians isn't being redundant. What he means is winning probably isn't going to happen if the starting pitcher lets a game get out of hand.
With that in mind, Anthony Reyes deserves to be pleased with his outing Thursday, even though he did not get credit for the 5-2 win over the Kansas City Royals.
Reyes gave up two runs and four hits in six innings. His only negative was issuing four walks, which raised his pitch count (106) and denied him a chance to go out for the seventh inning.
""It was just one of those things that made it pretty tough,'' he said of the walks. ""But I gave us a chance to win. I got a little mechanical at the end, but I can look at the video and fix it.''
His teammates made the job more difficult by committing two of their three errors on his watch.
Reyes' moment of high drama came after Ben Francisco dropped a fly ball for an error that loaded the bases with nobody out in the fourth inning.
The score was deadlocked at one run apiece at the time, and the way Kansas City starter Gil Meche was pitching, it didn't look like Reyes could afford to give up even one more run. But with bases filled and nobody out, what was he supposed to do?
""I just wanted to use all my pitches, mix things up,'' Reyes said., ""I didn't want to give them anything to hit, and I wanted to make sure I didn't miss down the middle of the plate.''
Easier said than done, but Reyes extricated himself from trouble without allowing a run.
""When someone makes an error,'' he said, ""it's my job to pick him up.''
First, he induced John Buck to lift a fly to shallow right, too shallow for the runner on third, Billy Butler, to make a dash for the plate. Then he struck out Mike Aviles and retired Mitch Maier on a fly to left, with Francisco, the man who put Reyes in jeopardy, making the catch.
Was Reyes trying to strike out Aviles?
""I just didn't want to give him anything good to hit,'' he said. ""But when I got two strikes on him, yes I was.''
Wedge appreciates that Reyes is a pitcher rather than a thrower, and that he has a certain toughness about him.
""He didn't have the command today we like to see,'' the manager said. ""But he never gives in to a hitter. And he made good pitches.''
BAD MATCHUP -- Meche came into the game with a 4-9 record and 5.10 ERA against Cleveland. Only the Tribe has a winning record against him among Central Division teams. He is 7-3 against the White Sox, 8-4 against the Tigers and 7-5 against the Twins.
Meche deserved better Thursday, as Wedge said, ""He had it all working for him. When he's on like that, he's tough to hit.''
INJURY UPDATES -- Jake Westbrook (Tommy John surgery) threw a 60-pitch bullpen (two sets of 30) earlier in the week at extended spring training in Goodyear, Ariz. ... After playing three games at Triple-A Columubs on his 20-day rehab assignment, David Dellucci (strained calf) is batting .417 (5-for-12) with five runs and two RBI.
OTHER STUFF -- Thursday's win was the Tribe's first of the season when the club was trailing after six innings. ... Over the past eight games, Grady Sizemore is batting .343 with four home runs, 12 RBI and eight runs. ... Kerry Wood, who struck out two in the ninth, has 11 strikeouts in 51/3 innings.
FARM FACTS -- Columbus first baseman Michael Aubrey leads the International League with a .472 batting average and .500 on base percentage. He is second in slugging percantage (.694). ... Akron catcher Carlos Santana is batting only .237 but leads the Eastern League in RBI (14) and is tied for the lead in homers (4). ... Lonnie Chisenhall homered and doubled, driving in five runs, but Kinston fell to Myrtle Beach 9-8. Lucas Montero had a double, two singles and one RBI. ... Abner Abreu tripled, singled and drove in one run in Lake County's 6-5 loss to Lakewood.