CLEVELAND -- Gamer from Thursday.
Go ahead. Just try to remember what you were doing the last time Jake Westbrook won a game.
If you need a hint, it was the day before the Browns selected Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn in the NFL draft. If you need another hint, it was the day before the Cavs played Washington in Game 3 of their first-round NBA playoff series.
Yes, it’s been awhile.
Cleveland’s longsuffering right-hander earned his first victory since April 27 on Thursday afternoon when he worked six shutout innings to help the Indians overpower Texas, 5-0, at Jacobs Field.
“You can’t go out there and try to win five or six games in one ballgame,” Westbrook said. “I had a similar situation a couple years ago when I started off 2-9, but I felt good about the way I was pitching. It’s all just a matter of confidence.”
Confidence, or at least positive reinforcement, has been difficult to come by for Westbrook (2-6) this season.
He got off to a rough beginning, then spent six weeks on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his rib cage. He pitched well for two games after coming off the DL, then was so-so for the next four starts. He has allowed two runs over 13 innings in his two most recent appearances.
Westbrook survived a trying first inning against the Rangers, then cruised through the next five. Consecutive one-out hits netted nothing when Westbrook got Jason Botts to pop up and struck out Marlon Byrd.
“My job, if I get myself into trouble, is to get myself out of it,” Westbrook said.
The Indians have been in plenty of trouble lately — a 2-7 record on the homestand through Wednesday — but got themselves out of it this time.
Rafael Perez and Edward Mujica followed Westbrook with three scoreless innings of relief. Eight of the nine players in the Cleveland batting order managed at least one hit. The exception, Casey Blake, moved a runner along with a ground ball and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
“When runs are tough to come by, you have to scrap for whatever you can get,” Blake said.
Grady Sizemore drove in two runs with an RBI single off Kason Gabbard (4-1) and a sacrifice fly. Victor Martinez hit his 18th home run, tying him with Sizemore for the team lead. Kenny Lofton drove in a run by beating out an infield single to Rangers shortstop Michael Young.
“I go hard,” the 40-year-old Lofton said. “Hey, I’ve got some wheels. They’re not all the way gone. To hear some people tell it, I haven’t just lost a step. I’ve lost four or five steps.”
Lofton also started in center field. Sizemore worked as the DH, and Travis Hafner was given a day off.
“I was real impressed with the way Kenny handled himself out there today,” Manager Eric Wedge said.
The Indians have weathered a July stretch in which they scored two runs or fewer six times in eight games. Getting production from the entire lineup and scoring in ways other than hacking away and hoping for a home run are both positive signs that August might be better.
“It’s not going to happen overnight,” Wedge said. “You’ve got to work in the right direction. Today was a step toward that.
“They found a way to get it done today. That was very, very good to see.”
Reach Repository sports writer Andy Call at (330) 580-8346 or firstname.lastname@example.org.