PITTSBURGH (AP) - Cleveland Indians rookie Cody Anderson has a simple explanation for such a successful start to his major league career.
“I’m just going out focusing on what I have to do to help our team win,” he said. “I’m just trying to do the best I can and then use tomorrow to get better.”
The right-hander couldn’t have done much better Saturday, but Jeff Locke threw eight innings of two-hit ball and Neil Walker had an RBI single to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 1-0 victory over Anderson and the Indians.
Anderson (1-1) pitched eight innings in his third start, and his ERA rose slightly to 0.76 from 0.57. He had no walks and four strikeouts while allowing six hits in a complete game.
“He was really good again,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “He was throwing his fastball on a downhill plain and they had trouble with that and his changeup. The only time they hit the ball well was on his slider, but even that is nitpicking.”
Pittsburgh scored in the sixth. Josh Harrison hit a leadoff double off the top of the center-field fence and came around on Walker’s single.
“Their guy did a good job of pounding the strike zone today and we weren’t able to take advantage that much,” Walker said. “Fortunately one run was enough and Jeff had his best outing of the year.”
Locke (5-4) yielded only second-inning singles by Yan Gomes and Giovanny Urshela as the Pirates ended Cleveland’s five-game winning streak. The left-hander struck six, walked none and faced one batter more than the minimum in a game that took just 2 hours, 6 minutes.
“I had to hit against (Locke), so I saw up close how good his stuff was today,” Anderson said. “I could see why we had so much trouble with him. He had good stuff and also good command.”
With two on in the ninth, Mark Melancon got Michael Brantley on a game-ending grounder for his 26th save. Jason Kipnis walked with two outs and Francisco Lindor had an infield single.
Cleveland never got a runner past first base against Locke. Pittsburgh turned double plays in each of the first two innings and went on to win for the 10th time in 15 games.
Locke, who hit Kipnis with a pitch in the first, has given up two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts.
Harrison had two of the Pirates’ six hits.
Locke said he had his best rhythm of the year.
“It’s almost like an added confidence,” he said. “You almost feel superior until someone on the offense, on their side, tries to knock you out of it. Fortunately enough, they did hit some balls hard and guys were there.”
Indians: Urshela extended his hitting streak to 13 games. … Kipnis has reached base in 27 of his last 29 games.
Pirates: Walker’s RBI single ran his hitting streak to seven games.
Indians: OF Ryan Raburn usually starts against left-handers but did not play because of illness. … RHP Josh Tomlin, who underwent right shoulder surgery in April, is likely to begin a minor league rehab assignment next week. … 1B-OF Nick Swisher (left knee inflammation) hopes to go on a rehab assignment soon after the All-Star break.
Major league wins leader Gerrit Cole (11-3, 2.20 ERA) starts for the Pirates on Sunday against RHP Danny Salazar (7-3, 3.80) in the series finale. Cole is 6-1 with a 2.01 ERA in his last eight starts. Salazar took a perfect game into the sixth inning Tuesday when he won at Tampa Bay.
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