CLEVELAND (AP) The Cleveland Indians are relying on rookies in their drive to stay in playoff contention. That is just fine with manager Terry Francona.
Jose Ramirez, one of several rookies who are getting significant playing time, drove in the winning run with a ninth-inning single that lifted the Indians to a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
''That's a fun way to play,'' Francona said. ''We had some youth out there, and we're seeing what they can do.''
Rookies Tyler Holt and Roberto Perez also had a hand in the winning rally.
Holt, pinch-hitting for Chris Dickerson, started the inning with a single off Jake Buchanan (1-3). After Perez moved Holt to second with a sacrifice, Michael Bourn walked. Buchanan's wild pitch moved the runners to second and third before Ramirez, who doubled and scored in the third, lined a 3-2 pitch past third base.
''I was trying to put the ball in play, trying to make contact,'' Ramirez said through Perez, who served as his interpreter. ''Thank God I'm taking advantage of the opportunity the Indians are giving me. I'm just trying to get the most out of it.''
Injuries are a major reason why the Indians have turned to their rookies. Designated hitter Nick Swisher is out for the season after surgery on both knees. Outfielder David Murphy likely won't return until late September because of a strained oblique, and Bourn has been on the disabled list twice with a hamstring injury.
''To us, it feels amazing,'' said Perez, who has started the last two games because Yan Gomes is out with a concussion. ''These guys played at Triple-A with me. It just awesome to see their success. It's just awesome to be part of this team, and with them, too.''
The Indians have 10 walk-off wins this season. Cody Allen (5-3) struck out two in a perfect ninth as four pitchers held Houston to three hits.
''We had a good streak offensively where we were scoring a lot of runs and swinging the bats well but we've had a couple of games here where we haven't swung the bats well,'' Astros manager Bo Porter said.
Danny Salazar continued Cleveland's run of impressive starting pitching, allowing two runs with seven strikeouts in six innings. The starters have posted a 1.85 ERA (15 earned runs in 73 innings) in 12 games since Aug. 9.
The Indians (65-63) have won eight of 12.
Jose Altuve's RBI single and Dickerson's throwing error - Cleveland's 100th miscue of the season - helped Houston score twice in the third.
Michael Brantley snapped an 0-for-15 slump with an RBI single in the third. Bourn tied it with an RBI groundout in the fourth.
NO DEFENDING THIS
Two errors led to four unearned runs in the ninth inning on Friday, and the Indians hit the century mark Saturday. ''It's added up to too many errors,'' Francona said. ''It makes it difficult for us. There's no getting around it.'' Cleveland committed 98 errors last season when it made the playoffs.
C Chris Gimenez was acquired by the Indians from Texas for future considerations. OF Ryan Raburn (sore right wrist) started a rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus on Saturday. Francona said DH Jason Giambi (sore left knee) will likely start a rehab assignment next week.
Astros: Porter isn't sure if RHP Brad Peacock (sore forearm) will make his next start. Peacock was removed Friday after five innings. His scheduled day to pitch is Wednesday against Oakland.
Indians: Gomes was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. He was hit on the mask by a pitch Thursday and is still experiencing concussion symptoms.
Astros: LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-8) will make his third career appearance against the Indians. Houston has won six of his last seven starts.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer (4-7) has battled consistency all season. He allowed five runs in the first inning in two of his last three starts. Bauer took a no-hitter into the sixth inning in the other outing.