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Indians stay in wild-card contention with victory

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Ronnie Belliard and Jhonny Peralta didn't
listen and weren't talking.

Belliard hit a three-run double to snap a seventh-inning tie and
Peralta homered twice and drove in three as the Cleveland Indians
broke a three-game losing streak by handing the Texas Rangers their
eighth straight loss, 8-2 on Tuesday night.

One day after Cleveland closer Bob Wickman expressed dismay that
some of the Indians' position players often duck the media after
games, neither Belliard nor Peralta was available for comment.

C.C. Sabathia (9-9), who won his third straight start as
Cleveland rebounded from a three-game sweep at home by Tampa Bay,
was talking.

"This was huge," said Sabathia, who allowed two runs and eight
hits over seven innings.

The left-hander was well aware the Indians needed a win to stay
in the thick of the AL wild-card race after falling 4½ games back.

"The experience of last year, falling completely out of it,
will help this year," Sabathia said.

A year ago, Cleveland got within one game of first place on Aug.
15, then lost nine straight.

Texas is 3-12 since a four-game winning streak July 27-30.

Belliard lined a 3-2 pitch to left-center off Kenny Rogers
(11-6), who was making his second start since serving a 13-game
suspension for shoving two cameramen.

"That was one of the best at-bats of the year," manager Eric
Wedge said of Belliard, who had been 1-for-15 off Rogers in his
career. "He battled until he got a pitch he could drive and then
didn't miss it."

Travis Hafner opened the seventh with a sharply hit ball off
second baseman Alfonso Soriano's glove that was ruled an error.
Victor Martinez followed with a slow tapper toward third that
Rogers came off the mound and grabbed. Without any chance of
getting the runner, he threw to first anyway. Mark Teixeira
scrambled 12 feet off the bag to keep the ball from going past for
an error, holding Hafner at second.

Jose Hernandez put down a sacrifice bunt that Rogers fielded,
but dropped for another error, loading the bases.

"I don't think the game got away from Kenny," Texas manager
Buck Showalter said. "He pitched well enough to win. We just did
some things and didn't help ourselves."

Belliard's double made it 5-2. Grady Sizemore's sacrifice fly in
the inning gave Cleveland a four-run lead.

One-out doubles by Michael Young and Teixeira put Texas ahead
1-0 in the first.

Peralta's 17th homer made it 2-1 in the bottom half, when the
Indians thought they scored more.

After the two-run homer, Hafner walked and Martinez followed
with a drive that appeared headed over the wall in center. Gary
Matthews leaped and the ball disappeared from view, then suddenly
appeared in his glove. Matthews threw back to the infield to double
up Hafner.

"He would have to be a contortionist to make that catch," said
Wedge, who argued with second base umpire Marvin Hudson. Television
replays clearly showed Matthews trapped the ball after it caromed
off the top of the fence. Martinez should have had an RBI double.

Young credited Matthews with an Oscar-worthy acting performance.

"I had a good view of it," the Rangers shortstop said. "He
made a great sell."

Rogers then shut down the Indians until the seventh. He retired
17 of 18, including 12 straight after Jason Dubois' leadoff single
in the third.

Rod Barajas hit the first pitch from Sabathia in the fifth for
his 12th homer and a 2-2 tie.

Rogers, winless in three starts since July 16, gave up three
earned runs and six hits over seven innings.

Peralta hit his 18th homer off Francisco Cordero in the eighth
and Hernandez added an RBI single in the inning.

Game notes
Indians 3B Aaron Boone was a late scratch because of a sore
neck. ... Soriano has hit .344 (21-for-61) during a 15-game hitting
streak. ... Sabathia is 6-2 in his career against Texas. ... Rogers
fell to 13-14 all-time against Cleveland. ... Texas last lost eight
straight in June 2003. ... Peralta's 18 homers are the most by an
Indians shortstop since Woodie Held hit 18 in 1962. It was his
first multihomer game. ... Belliard is batting .379 (22-for-58)
with 57 RBI in his career with the bases loaded.