CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Indians’ plan for success is pretty simple: Take a late lead and turn the game over to the bullpen.
The strategy worked Sunday in a 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Abraham Almonte singled home the go-ahead run in the sixth inning before Andrew Miller and Cody Allen retired the final nine hitters, sending Los Angeles to its 10th straight loss.
Miller, acquired from the New York Yankees at the trade deadline, pitched the seventh and eighth while Allen worked the ninth for his 22nd save.
Manager Terry Francona has quickly learned how to get the best from Miller, who has been with the team for two weeks.
“Sometimes the best thing to do is stay out of the way and let him go do his thing because that was phenomenal,” Francona said.
Miller’s day ended when he struck out Albert Pujols, leading to the ejection of the Angels slugger. Pujols was thrown out by plate umpire Clint Fagan after being called out on strikes.
Pujols, also upset by a call earlier in the at-bat, was still unhappy following the game.
“If you start the game with one strike zone, you can’t change it,” he said. “I just told him that (2-0 pitch) was terrible, then I walked away. It’s embarrassing.”
Miller likes the way the back end of the bullpen, which includes Bryan Shaw, is beginning to mesh.
“It’s still sorting itself out,” he said. “However Tito wants to use me, I’m happy to oblige.”
The AL Central-leading Indians trailed 4-1, but scored twice in both the fifth and sixth to complete a four-game sweep.
The Angels went 0-9 on their road trip and are mired in their worst skid since an 11-game losing streak in 1999. Outfielder Mike Trout was given the day off, ending his consecutive-games-played streak at 178.
Trevor Bauer (9-5) gave up home runs to Ji-Man Choi and Geovany Soto but got through six innings for his second straight win.
Jered Weaver (8-10) allowed five runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Tyler Naquin’s RBI double tied it in the sixth, finishing Weaver, and Almonte’s single off Jose Valdez put Cleveland ahead.
Jason Kipnis hit his 20th homer of the season in the first for Cleveland, which outscored Los Angeles 37-12 in the series.
“We did a lot of good things,” Francona said. “We bunched together a pretty good rally to take the lead.”
Mike Napoli drove in a run with an infield hit and Francisco Lindor walked with the bases loaded. Jose Ramirez extended his hitting streak to 18 games while Napoli has hit in 14 straight.
The start of the game was delayed by rain for 1 hour, 38 minutes. Three of the four games in the series were delayed, totaling 4 hours, 59 minutes.
Indians outfielder Michael Brantley will undergo season-ending surgery on his right shoulder Monday in Dallas. He’s played in only 11 games after having surgery in November.
Angels: 1B Jefry Marte was hit by a pitch on the left shoulder in the second and left the game in the bottom of the inning.
Indians: DH Carlos Santana returned to the lineup and went 1 for 4. He missed two games after being hit in the head by a foul ball while standing in the dugout Thursday.