Kearns leads Indians against former teammates

June 11, 2010

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Austin Kearns drove in four runs with two homers against his former team as the Cleveland Indians beat the Washington Nationals 7-2 on Friday night.

Travis Hafner also homered for Cleveland as manager Manny Acta won his first game against the team that fired him last July 13. That was only a month after Washington drafted Stephen Strasburg. The right-hander, coming off a sensational 14-strikeout debut, will make his first road start Sunday in Cleveland.

Jake Westbrook (4-3) gave up two runs over 7 1-3 innings and Chris Perez got his sixth save as Cleveland won for the fourth time in five games, depriving Washington of its first four-game winning streak.

Kearns hit a three-run shot off Luis Atilano (5-3) in the first inning. He hit the first pitch of the fourth for a 5-1 lead and his fourth multiple homer game, first since June 4, 2006, at Houston.


Kearns nearly had third homer. His seventh-inning drive was caught by leaping center fielder Nyjer Morgan at the wall in right-center.

Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana went 0 for 3 with one run and a walk in his big-league debut. The switch-hitter, who hit .310 with 57 homers and 265 RBIs in 317 minor-league games, was called up from Triple-A Columbus -- and quickly tested on defense.

Morgan opened the game with a single and took off for second on the third pitch to Ivan Rodriguez. Santana, converted from an infielder to catcher in 2007, threw out the speedster with a quick, accurate throw.

Rodriguez then doubled and scored on a double by Adam Dunn for a 1-0 lead.

Trevor Crowe's two-run single off reliever Tyler Walker made it 7-1 in the sixth.

Rookie Atilano gave up six runs over five-plus innings, dropping to 4-1 in six road starts. All three first-inning runs he allowed were unearned due to an error by second baseman Adam Kennedy.

Westbrook improved to 4-1 in seven starts since May 11. The right-hander, who missed much of 2008 and all of 2009 after having Tommy John surgery, struck out five. That was the most since he fanned eight in a complete-game win at Baltimore on May 16.

Acta was greeted warmly by several Nationals players during batting practice. Hired to his first big-league job in 2007, he received a few manager of the year votes that year before injuries took their toll in a 102-loss season in 2008. Washington was 26-61 at the All-Star break a year ago when he was dismissed.

Earlier this week, Acta refused to blame the Nationals for letting him go. He said he felt "grateful" that he was fired, because it gave him the opportunity to pursue the job in Cleveland after the Indians fired Eric Wedge at the end of a 97-loss season in 2009.

NOTES: RHP Chad Ogea, winner of two games in the 1997 World Series, signed autographs before the game as part of the Indians' alumni program. ... Cleveland sent C Lou Marson to Columbus to make roster room for Santana. ... Morgan, Rodriguez and Dunn went a combined 6 for 9. The rest of the Nationals were a combined 1 for 20.

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