Duncan hit two home runs and tied a career high with four RBIs in only his 49th start this year as the Indians beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 on Tuesday night.
"It's tough when you are not getting at-bats because the game comes at you so fast," Duncan said. "I tried to slow things down in my head, not think about the past."
Duncan's second career multihomer game helped Josh Tomlin (4-3) earn his third win in four starts since Aug. 27. The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits over 6 2/3 innings as Cleveland broke the Angels' four-game winning streak. Six of the hits were for extra bases.
"A well-pitched game," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Tomlin had very good control of his cutter and was changing speeds. Then the bullpen did a great job."
Chris Perez pitched the ninth for his 20th save in 24 chances. The right-hander threw a called third strike past Peter Bourjos with runners on first and third. A passed ball made it Angels on second and third, but Perez retired Alberto Callaspo on a fly ball for his seventh straight save.
"I was overthrowing a bit, but knew what to do," said Perez, who has not allowed a run in his last 13 appearances. "So, if it makes any sense, I got a little calmer when the situation was tougher. That's because I was able to fall back on what I have learned and throw strikes."
Duncan went 3-for-3 after hitting .133 (8-for-60) in 22 games since Aug. 8. He hit his 10th homer, a two-run shot off Scott Kazmir (8-14) in the sixth inning for a 4-1 lead. He had a game-tying RBI single in the first and put Cleveland ahead 2-1 with a leadoff homer in the fourth.
Duncan had two homers and four RBIs on July 22, 2007, for the New York Yankees against Tampa Bay.
Kazmir dropped to 0-5 in seven starts since Aug. 13 and is 1-9 since June 24. The Angels have totaled four runs in his last three losses.
"It's frustrating out there," Kazmir said. "I have to work through things."
The left-hander gave up four runs and seven hits over 5 2/3 innings. He fell to 1-3 in his career against Cleveland with a 6.13 ERA -- the highest by any AL team against him.
Nevertheless, Angels manager Mike Scioscia was encouraged.
"He didn't miss by much tonight," Scioscia said. "Unfortunately, a couple of the mistakes he made, Duncan didn't miss them either.
"He's right on the verge. He's making progress. He's feeling good. There are some positives, but we're not at the point where I think he's back to the way he can pitch."
Trailing 2-1 in the sixth, Hunter was out trying to score from first on a two-out double to left-center by Hideki Matsui. Shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera took the throw from left fielder Duncan and his relay short-hopped Lou Marson, but was in time. Marson was bowled over by Hunter's attempt to jar the ball loose and hung on for the third out.
"I was more fired up by that than anything else tonight," Duncan said. "Cabby took my short-hop throw and made it look easy. It wasn't. Then Marson grabbed his short hop. It was cool to watch."
Rafael Perez relieved Tomlin and retired Callaspo on a first-pitch lineout to third base.
Cleveland loaded the bases in the bottom half, but did not score when pinch-hitter Travis Hafner bounced into an inning-ending double play.
The Angels' winning streak was their longest since winning six straight June 2-7.
Cleveland called up INF Drew Sutton from Triple-A Columbus. INF Jason Donald is out at least a week with a bruised right index finger. ... Scioscia said RHP Joel Pineiro may start Saturday at Tampa Bay. Pineiro has been out since July 29 with a strained left oblique. He worked a six-inning rehab start for Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday. ... Hunter went 2-for-4 and is 13-for-27 (.481) with three homers and five RBIs against Cleveland this year. ... The Angels did not homer for the first time in nine games. They had a 10-game streak, May 14-23. ... OF Michael Brantley went 2-for-4, extending his hitting streak to an Indians' season-best 14 games. ... An MRI on Indians RHP Mitch Talbot was negative. The rookie left his start Sunday after only 14 pitches with an inflamed shoulder.