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Cleveland Indians

White earns first big-league win

By Sheldon Published: May 8, 2011

ANAHEIM, CALIF.: Alex White was gone before the seventh inning Saturday night. [ep
But wait, so was the Angels' Jered Weaver, arguably this season's top performing starter in the American League. [ep

Both pitchers left with business unfinished, but by the time the game ended, White had earned his first big league win, as the Indians deadlocked the series at a game apiece with a 4-3 decision at Angels Stadium. [ep

Not that anyone was giving the starters American Idol type grades, but White, a rookie making his second major league start, outpitched Weaver, who came into the game with a 6-1 record and 1.39 earned-run average. [ep

""It was a terrific ballgame,'' manager Manny Acta said. ""Alex was fantastic. This guy competes. he has a very good heartbeat.'' [ep

The Angels got in the first blow, and it was a big one, with Vernon Wells driving a ball over the wall in left for his fourth home run of the season in the second inning. Solo homers are said to be acceptable mistakes for pitchers, but before Wells went deep, White allowed a single to Howie Kendrick to make it a two-run blast. [ep

""I just made one mistake, and Wells made me pay,'' White (1-0, 3.75 ERA) said. [ep

But if the Angels, or anyone, thought that yielding an early home run would shake the confidence or the resolve of White, they were mistaken. He struck out the batter who followed Wells, Mark Trumbo, and didn't give up another run until the sixth. [ep

That's when Torii Hunter drew a one-out walk, Kendrick singled him to third, and Wells came through with a sacrifice fly. [ep

So White gave up three runs, seven hits (three never left the infield) and two walks, striking out six in six innings. [ep

Twice White worked himself out of serious trouble. [ep

After Erick Aybar tripled with one out in the the third, Bobby Abreu walked, but White induced Maicer Izturis to bounce into a doubled play. In the fifth, Trumbo and Jeff Mathis reached on infield hits to start the inning, but neither runner was able to advance, as Peter Bourjos was retired on an infield pop fly, Aybar struck out and Abreu fouled to the third baseman. [ep

""Alex never gets rattled, even when those guys were on first and second,'' Acta said. ""He kept his composure.'' [ep

White received a first-win beer shower from his teammates after the game, which was fine with him. [ep

""Getting that win is a good feeling,'' he said. ""It's something I fought for a long time. I was fortunate to hold their offense long enough for our bullpen to get there. I knew the win was going to come if I pitched well. We have a great bullpen and a great offense. That makes it easy.'' [ep

Weaver (6-2, 1.87 ERA) really lost it for only one inning, though he gave up a run in the fourth on Carlos Santana's one-out double, Travis Hafner's single, sending Santana only to third, and Orlando Cabrera's sacrifice fly. [ep

In the fourth, the Tribe began forcing Weaver to raise his pitch count and delivered two timely hits. Weaver retired the first two batters in the inning without incident but walked Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera. [ep

Shin-Soo Choo whacked a double to the gap in right to score both runners, snapping an 0-for-18 skid. Santana singled to score Choo, Hafner singled to move Santana to third, but Orlando Cabrera popped to the shortstop to end the rally. [ep

""The only chance we have of beating a guy like that is if our own guy matches him and keeps the opposition down,'' Acta said. ""No matter how dominating a pitcher is, he usually will give up a couple of runs. So your guy has to step up and hold his ground.'' [ep

In light of the batter-pitcher statistics, the hit by Choo was predictable. He came into the game with a .455 (10-for-22) batting average against Weaver with four doubles. [ep

""I don't know, I don't do anything different,'' said Choo, when he was asked why he hits Weaver so well. [ep

Weaver finished the sixth and was excused, having given up four runs, seven hits and two walks. It was the first time in his career he had pitched six or more innings without striking out a batter. He used 108 pitches, eight more than White. [ep

There were a few firsts for Lou Marson: He got his first hit off a right-handed pitcher when he singled off Rich Thompson in the ninth after 18 at-bats. He followed that with his first steal of the season. And he ended the inning by getting picked off second for the first time this year. [ep

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