CLEVELAND — Roberto Perez will never be known for blazing speed, but his legs helped the Cleveland Indians to their first walk-off win of the season.
The slow-footed backup catcher slid home with the winning run on David Murphy's sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, and the Indians defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 Sunday.
"It seemed like his legs got shorter as he was running," Cleveland manager Terry Francona joked. "That play was hold-your-breath time, for sure."
Rays starter Alex Colome retired his first 16 batters, but Cody Anderson kept the game scoreless in his major league debut for the Indians.
Murphy hit a 3-1 pitch from reliever Kevin Jepsen (1-5) to center field. Kevin Kiermaier made a strong throw home on one bounce, but catcher Curt Casali couldn't come up with the ball as Perez slid across the plate.
"I wasn't looking at the ball," Perez said. "I think it beat me, but then he dropped it so I was OK."
"Sometimes you don't even know if you have the ball or not," Casali said. "At that particular moment I thought I could have had it and tried to just make a good baseball play. Unfortunately I didn't get it today."
Perez led off the ninth with a single. Jason Kipnis singled to right, extending his hitting streak to 16 games, and Perez advanced to third.
Perez held at third on Francisco Lindor's line drive to left that was caught by Joey Butler. Michael Brantley was intentionally walked before Murphy delivered.
Cody Allen (1-2) pitched the ninth for the win.
While Colome dominated the Indians, Anderson held the Rays to six hits in 7 2-3 innings. Called up from Triple-A Columbus before the game, he struck out four and walked one in the longest outing of his professional career.
Anderson admitted he was very nervous when he took a big league mound for the first time.
"I really didn't have much control in the first inning," he said. "I couldn't feel my body or the ball."
Kiermaier doubled with one out in the eighth and went to third on a groundout. Francona pulled Anderson, who was given a standing ovation by the crowd of 20,847 as he walked to the dugout.
Marc Rzepczynski issued an intentional walk to Evan Longoria and struck out pinch-hitter Nick Franklin to end the inning.
Anderson, who began the season at Double-A Akron, was 4-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 13 minor league appearances.
Colome allowed one hit in seven innings. His bid for a perfect game was broken up by Michael Bourn's infield single with one out in the sixth.
Bourn hit a hard grounder behind first base. The ball skipped off the glove of Jake Elmore, who was playing a couple of steps off the bag, and rolled to his right. Second baseman Logan Forsythe picked it up, but his throw to Colome covering the bag was late.
Colome was coming off the shortest start of his career, lasting two innings and allowing six runs and seven hits in a 16-4 loss to Washington on Tuesday. He hasn't won in six starts since defeating Oakland on May 21.
WELCOME TO THE BIG LEAGUES
The Indians flew Anderson into town Saturday so he could have some time to adjust to his new surroundings.
"It was a special day," said Anderson, whose parents attended the game. "I'm honored to be here and help the team win. Any time you're in a big stadium for the first time the adrenaline takes over and you don't get as fatigued."
Rays: Manager Kevin Cash doesn't know if RHP Erasmo Ramirez (strained groin) will make his next scheduled start. Ramirez left Saturday's game in the fourth inning.
Indians: C Yan Gomes, who has been bothered by a sore neck, had a scheduled day off.
Rays: RHP Matt Andriese makes his fifth start of the season Monday night as Tampa Bay opens a three-game series at home against Toronto.
Indians: RHP Trevor Bauer, getting an extra day between starts, faces the Detroit Tigers on Monday night at Progressive Field.