CLEVELAND (AP) – Jhonny Peralta had two RBIs in his first game as Cleveland’s latest No. 3 hitter, and Cliff Lee pitched into the eighth inning to give the Indians a 4-3 win over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday.

Peralta, who began the season batting ninth, hit a solo homer in the fourth off Gil Meche (10-7) and added an RBI single in a two-run fifth as the Indians bounced back from a demoralizing 4-3 loss Friday night.

Lee (11-4) gave up three runs and eight hits in 7 1-3 innings while improving to 4-0 in four career starts against Seattle. The left-hander walked one and struck out five before being pulled after giving up Randy Winn’s one-out RBI double in the eighth.

Scott Sauerbeck and Bob Howry got Cleveland to the ninth, and Bob Wickman finished for his 24th save in 27 attempts. Wickman, making just his second appearance since the All-Star break, allowed the Mariners to put runners at second and third with two outs before getting pinch-hitter Chris Snelling to ground out.

Jason Dubois, acquired by the Indians earlier this week in a trade with the Chicago Cubs for Jody Gerut, hit his first AL homer. Dubois’ shot leading off the seventh put the Indians ahead 4-2.

Cleveland, which came in four games behind Minnesota in the wild-card race, improved to just 4-12 since July 5.

Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner missed his seventh straight game with a concussion he sustained when Chicago’s Mark Buehrle hit him in the face with a pitch. Hafner might still go on the disabled list, but the Indians want to wait a few more days to see if he improves.

With Hafner out, Indians manager Eric Wedge reluctantly moved the streaking Peralta up in the lineup. He didn’t want to put any more pressure on the 22-year-old Peralta, who hasn’t buckled to anything in his first full season in the majors.

Peralta brought Cleveland to 2-1 in the fourth with a leadoff homer, his 13th.

The Indians then scored two unearned runs in the fifth off Meche, who should have been out of the inning. After picking Aaron Boone off first for out No. 2, Meche got Grady Sizemore to hit a routine grounder to shortstop, but rookie Michael Morse nearly overthrew 6-foot-8 first baseman Richie Sexson, who had to jump high to pull it down.

Coco Crisp followed with a single as did Peralta, driving in Sizemore to tie it 2-2 while snapping an 0-for-12 slump by the Indians with runners in scoring position. Victor Martinez’s RBI single made it 3-2.

Sexson’s RBI double gave the Mariners a 2-0 lead in the fourth. With one out, Sexson tried to score on Willie Bloomquist’s fly ball to medium center. But Sizemore perfectly timed his catch and fired a one-hopper to Martinez, who was bowled over by Sexson but hung onto the ball.

Ichiro Suzuki scored on Raul Ibanez’s grounder in the first.

Notes: Before connecting, Dubois was 1-for-13 with the Indians. … Morse made three errors Thursday in Toronto. … Hafner saw the cringe-inducing photograph of American diver Chelsea Davis, who hit her nose on the diving board during the World Swimming Championships in Montreal on Friday. Davis received stitches and was fortunate not to be hurt worse. “I should give her a call and maybe we could share war stories,” Hafner said. … Wedge has been juggling the middle of his order all season. Eight players have hit third or fourth and Wedge has used 11 players in the No. 5 hole.

AP-ES-07-23-05 1802EDT


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