CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians had waited all season for a three-game winning streak, so they certainly didn't mind sitting through more than two hours of rain delays to earn one.
Jhonny Peralta homered to snap a seventh-inning tie and the Indians beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2 on Saturday to extend their longest winning streak of the year to three."It's a step," manager Eric Wedge said.Peralta hit a 2-2 pitch from Jason Frasor (1-3) over the wall in right-center for his fifth homer, helping Cleveland to its fourth victory in five games.Arthur Rhodes (2-1) retired all three batters he faced for the win. He was the fourth of six pitchers used by Wedge.Bob Howry worked a perfect eighth and Bob Wickman pitched the ninth for his 11th save in 13 tries, retiring Orlando Hudson on a grounder with a runner on third to end it."That's all good, but what's on our minds is going out tomorrow and getting another," Rhodes said.Play was halted for 28 minutes in the middle of the first inning and again for 1 hour, 51 minutes in the bottom of the third.A 72-minute rain delay Friday night forced each club to go to its bullpen earlier than usual. That was the case again Saturday, when Cleveland's Kevin Millwood and Toronto's Gustavo Chacin had their starts cut short."It is like spring training," Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby
said. "You've got specialists coming into a game in the fifth and sixth innings instead of later and they are getting the job done."Five Indians relievers allowed only one hit and one walk over the final six innings Saturday and have yielded just one run over 11 1/3 innings in the series."The bullpen did a great job again," Wedge said. "It's been a little tough on them because you can't control the weather, but we even had a couple guys we didn't use and we're in good shape."Toronto right-hander Pete Walker gave up one hit and one walk in 3 2/3 innings before turning it over to Frasor.Peralta hit the right-hander's fifth pitch an estimated 406 feet into the rain-soaked bleachers. It was Cleveland's 41st homer and 30th with the bases empty."Any time you leave a fastball down the middle of the plate ... good luck," Frasor said. "Sometimes you get away with it. I didn't."In his first full season starting at shortstop, the 22-year-old Peralta is batting .417 (10-for-24) with four homers and six RBI during a seven-game hitting streak."Jhonny has some strength in his bat," Wedge said. "That was a huge hit in a late-inning situation, but he's been swinging the bat well for a while now."Three stolen bases helped Toronto go ahead 2-0 in the second inning. Alex Rios got a one-out single and stole second. After Russ Adams walked, the Blue Jays executed a double steal as Huckaby was called out on strikes. Hudson followed with a two-run single.Cleveland tied it in the bottom half on Ben Broussard's two-run double."I felt good about that one because it tied the score," Broussard said. "You never want to be behind when it's raining."Millwood allowed two runs, five hits and two walks in three innings. The right-hander, signed as a free agent in December, was coming off his first AL win -- he allowed one hit in eight shutout innings Monday night against the Angels.Chacin gave up two runs, two hits and three walks in 2 1/3 innings. The rookie left-hander is winless in three May starts after going 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA in April.
Indians outfielder Coco Crisp went 1-for-4 and is batting .419 (13-for-31) during a nine-game hitting streak. ... Rios was caught stealing in the sixth by catcher Victor Martinez, who is 8-for-34 throwing out runners this year. ... Outfielder Casey Blake, a career third baseman until this season, robbed Hudson of extra bases with a running catch before crashing into the right field wall in the seventh. ... Cleveland improved to 3-13 when scoring three runs or fewer.