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Martinez, Peralta homer in 9th off Angels closer Fuentes for victory

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- When the three-run homer left Victor Martinez's bat in the ninth inning, the Cleveland slugger couldn't quite believe it had the juice to get out.

"As soon as I hit it, I was like, 'Oh well, let's see what happens,'" Martinez said with a shrug. "It barely went out, but it still counts."

The way things are going for the Cleveland Indians on their road trip, Martinez shouldn't have wondered. Even with their teammates departing almost daily in a long-lost season, they're on a roll that not even an All-Star closer on a first-place opponent could halt.

Martinez connected off Brian Fuentes (1-3) to erase a two-run deficit, and the short-handed Indians rallied for a stunning 8-6 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.

Jhonny Peralta had four hits and followed Martinez's blast with another homer off Fuentes, whose 30 saves lead the majors. The All-Star left-hander gave up four consecutive hits after coming on to preserve a two-run lead in the ninth, blowing a save for the first time in 18 chances.

The improbable shot by Martinez, who was 0 for 4 beforehand, was the biggest blow in a 20-hit attack. The Indians did it without sluggers Ryan Garko, who was traded to San Francisco right before the game, and Grady Sizemore, who felt ill and didn't play.

"It's a little tough, but there's nothing we can do about it," Martinez said as he dressed three stalls away from the empty locker with Garko's name still above it.

Cleveland even played without manager Eric Wedge and reliever Winston Abreu after both were suspended for Abreu's plunking of Seattle's Jack Hannahan last weekend.

"Our guys battled to the end against a very good closer," bench coach Jeff Datz said. "This is a special win, because we've been on the other end of some of these. Everybody contributed, and we continued swinging the bats as we've done on this trip."

Shin-Soo Choo also had four hits and scored three runs, while Peralta drove in three runs as Cleveland improved to 6-1 on its nine-game road trip.

Juan Rivera, Kendry Morales and Mike Napoli hit consecutive homers in the second inning for the Angels, who lost back-to-back games for just the second time in July following an eight-game winning streak. Morales hit two homers and Rivera drove in two runs in his return from an eight-game injury absence, but the Angels' shaky pitching staff failed them again.

The loss dropped Los Angeles' lead over Texas in the AL West standings to 2 1/2 games.

"Those guys beat one of the best closers in our league, so give them a little credit," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Any pitcher who's out there, if you miss some spots to guys who are swinging the bat well, there's always a chance of something happening like what happened tonight."

Jose Veras (4-1) pitched two scoreless innings of relief. Kerry Wood gave up a leadoff double to Gary Matthews Jr. in the ninth, but completed his 14th save in 18 chances.

Starter Joe Saunders had yet another rough outing for the suddenly pitching-poor Angels, allowing a season high-tying 10 hits and four runs while barely surviving five innings. The left-hander has allowed at least four runs in six consecutive starts, and hasn't won in July.

"That team was coming in here on a pretty good roll," Saunders said. "I fell behind some hitters, but I thought I made some pretty good pitches. They swung the bats well all night."

Scioscia remained frustrated with Saunders, who keeps slipping into bad habits.

"I didn't think Joe was sharp," Scioscia said. "You look at 12 baserunners in five innings, and Joe was plagued by some of the same things (he's been doing). He was getting behind in counts a lot. He didn't really have control of his off-speed pitches, so he was coming back into the zone, and those guys were squaring it up pretty good off him."

Carl Pavano wasn't much better for the Indians, yielding 10 hits and six runs -- including four solo homers -- in six innings.

"Obviously, I didn't do my job, but they did theirs," Pavano said. "Twenty hits, that's incredible. Coming off (a three-game sweep in) Seattle, this is a great stretch."

Game notes
Pavano is the first Indians pitcher to allow three consecutive homers since Dave Burba did it June 29, 2001, against Kansas City. ... Cleveland CF Ben Francisco made a spectacular diving catch to end the sixth inning, robbing Willits of an extra-base hit.