Indians nip Angels in 11 innings

CLEVELAND -- Shelley Duncan has never hit a softer ball to end a game.

His nubber didn't get past the infield grass -- wasn't even a hit -- but got Trevor Crowe home from third base with two outs in the 11th inning to give the Cleveland Indians a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.

Crowe scored when third baseman Alberto Callaspo cut in front of shortstop Brandon Wood to field the ball, which slipped away from him for an error.

"A rainy night, the grass is wet -- that was Plan C there," Duncan said. "It was a weird way to end the game."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said it was tough chance for Callaspo.

"It wasn't a routine play," Scioscia said. "Alberto had maybe a little more time. I think it was in between where he didn't know if Woodie was coming into the picture or not. He just didn't get the transfer [to his throwing hand]."

Crowe doubled with one out off Bobby Cassevah (0-1) and went to third on a groundout by Drew Sutton.

Manager Manny Acta then called upon Duncan to pinch-hit. In a rare start Tuesday night, Duncan had two homers and four RBIs in a 4-3 win over the Angels.

Rafael Perez (5-1), the sixth pitcher used by Cleveland, pitched one inning for the win after the Indians loaded the bases in the 10th and couldn't score.

Michael Brantley extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a leadoff single off Kevin Jepsen. Brantley stole second and went to third on a sacrifice bunt by Asdrubal Cabrera.

Jepsen then intentionally walked left-hand hitters Shin-Soo Choo and Travis Hafner, but lefty Jordan Brown bounced into an inning-ending double play.

"That was deflating," Acta said. "We can't get it done with the bases loaded and one out, then win it with a broken-bat hit and two outs the next inning. That's a bizarre win and another reason why baseball is the greatest game."

Indians pitchers tied a season high with 13 strikeouts as Cleveland won for the fifth time in nine meetings with the Angels, winning the season series for the first time since 2004. The loss was the Angels' second in the last seven games.

Indians starter Fausto Carmona stretched his scoreless streak to 22 innings until yielding solo homers to Hideki Matsui and Mike Napoli that tied the score at 2 in the seventh.

"Fausto continues to be terrific," Acta said. "He had heavy life on his sinker."

Carmona struck out eight and allowed four hits and one walk over seven innings. He matched his career-high scoreless streak set when he was a 19-game winner in 2007. He went a combined 13-19 the next two years and spent much of 2009 in the minors before rebounding this year to be named to the AL All-Star team.

Ervin Santana failed to get his career-high 17th win, though the right-hander allowed only two runs and four hits over eight innings. Santana, who also won 16 games in 2006 and 2008, struck out five and walked three in his first no-decision since July 24. He's 8-2 over his last 11 starts.

"He's got very, very good stuff," Scioscia said. "He's evolving as a pitcher as he's maturing. He's definitely been a guy who's moving to the front of the rotation."

Sutton singled for Cleveland's first hit to start the third and scored on Lou Marson's line double to right center. Choo's one-out bloop double to left made it 2-0.

Matsui ruined Carmona's bid for a second straight shutout by hitting his 20th homer with one out in the seventh. Matsui is 7-for-11 (.636) in his career against Carmona.

Matsui continued his late-season tear. He went 2-for-5 and has hit .438 (14-for-32) over his last 10 games and .402 since Aug. 14, to raise his average 29 points to .272.

Game notes
The start was delayed nine minutes as the field was prepared following a rainstorm. ... Angels shortstop Erick Aybar was in the original lineup but scratched just before game time with a strained left leg. ... Right-hander Jered Weaver's 218 strikeouts are the most for the Angels since Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan fanned 223 in 1979. ... Carmona is 0-2 with a 2.05 ERA in seven career games against the Angels. He tied Boston Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz for the second-longest scoreless streak in the AL, one short of the 23 straight by Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano. ... Cleveland hasn't had consecutive complete-game shutouts since left-hander Jeremy Sowers did it as a rookie in July 2006. ... Santana is 0-6 with a 5.14 ERA in nine career starts against Cleveland.