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Indians rookie Anderson hurls gem against Rays

Jun 30, 2015 - 4:35 AM St. Petersburg, FL ( - Cody Anderson took a perfect game into the seventh inning and yielded just two hits through eight in his second major league start, a superb effort that carried the Cleveland Indians to a 7-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Anderson (1-0) set down 19 consecutive Rays before giving up a solo home run to onetime Indians star Grady Sizemore. The rookie settled for his first career big league win by permitting just one more batter to reach base before being lifted to begin the ninth inning.

"I knew something special was going on," Anderson admitted when asked if he knew he had a perfect game going. "The changeup was working, and I pounded the zone with the fastball."

Yan Gomes backed Anderson by going 3-for-5 with a solo home run, with Jason Kipnis and Michael Brantley also finishing with three hits and an RBI to help the Tribe halt a three-game skid.

Nathan Karns (4-4) surrendered nine hits in six innings in Tampa Bay's sixth loss in eight games, though he managed to limit Cleveland to two runs.

"Our offense has been in a funk," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "We'll get out of it."

Anderson fired 7 2/3 scoreless innings against the Rays in his MLB debut on June 21 but didn't receive a victory. The 24-year-old was on his way to topping that feat despite registering just a single strikeout over the first six frames, keeping the Rays off the basepaths by continually working ahead of hitters and generating weak contact.

With Cleveland owning a 2-0 edge, Anderson fell behind 3-1 to Kevin Kiermaier to begin the bottom of the seventh before getting the leadoff man on a chopper to first for consecutive out No. 19. Sizemore was down to his last strike, however, when the veteran drove a belt-high fastball into the seats in right center to end both the perfect game and shutout.

The Rays then put the tying run in scoring position when Evan Longoria singled and advanced a base as Brantley misplayed the ball in left field. He was 90 feet away with two outs, but Anderson retired Logan Forsythe on a fly ball to right to keep the Indians ahead by a 2-1 score.

Cleveland proceeded to break it open in the final two innings. Gomes homered off Kirby Yates in the eighth and Kipnis scored the first of four runs in the ninth when Tampa reliever Ronald Belisario threw to the backstop while intentionally walking Brantley.

Ryan Raburn followed the free pass with a single that brought in Francisco Lindor, and Brantley later scored Cleveland's sixth run on a force play off the bat of Brandon Moss. Another wild pitch from Belisario enabled Raburn to come home and extend the lead to 7-1.

After being shut out in both ends of a doubleheader Sunday in Baltimore, the Indians put up a run in each of the initial two innings to give Anderson an early cushion.

Cleveland temporarily had a run taken off the board when Lindor was called for interference on a bunt in which Karns threw past first base to allow Kipnis, who opened the game with a double, to score. Brantley quickly got it back, though, by lacing an RBI single to right.

Kipnis struck again an inning later, ripping a two-out single that plated Gomes after the Cleveland catcher reached on a leadoff double.

Karns was able to keep the Indians off the board thereafter, working out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation by inducing a double-play grounder from Lindor that concluded the top of the fourth.

Game Notes

The Indians haven't had a no-hitter since Len Barker's perfect game against Toronto on May 15, 1981 ... The Indians mustered only three runs total in dropping two of three games to the Rays in Cleveland earlier this month ... Karns has now allowed two runs or fewer in 12 of his 16 starts ... Rays hurler Matt Moore, making his way back from Tommy John surgery performed in April of 2014, threw a 35-pitch bullpen session Monday and is expected to start Thursday's series finale.