HOUSTON -- Indians reliever Tony Sipp saw hit first work out of the bullpen in a week, getting the final out in the sixth inning and pitching a perfect seventh inning of Saturday's game.
"He threw strikes and saw a couple of lefties and took advantage of that," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "That's good for him to build confidence. Tony's pitching good against lefties, struggling against righties. Whenever he hasn't made a pitch, they've made him pay for it. That's been the thing with Tony."
But Sipp made all good pitches Saturday, striking out two of the four batters he faced.
"We need to get him out there," Acta said. "We need to get him right. We need him. He's pitched very well for us the last three years. It's tough. It's there; he's still throwing 91-93 [mph] with a breaking ball. But it's about making pitches.
"We've seen him get into some good stretches where he goes a long time being effective for us. I just can't go, 'What have you done for me lately, last week?' I've got to look for the last three years. And this guy has been very reliable for us. So I have to continue to trust him and give him the benefit of the doubt and try to place him in the right spot until he gets in a good groove."
Saturday's outing provided a good starting place.
Indians face Astros for final time as NL foe
HOUSTON -- Sunday's series finale at Minute Maid Park is likely the final time the Indians will face the Astros as a National League opponent. Houston moves to the American League West next season.
"It's not going to be easy for the fans," Cleveland manager Manny Acta noted. "It's something that's been here for so long and being in the National League and used to National League baseball, it's going to take a while for the fans."
Houston is celebrating its 50-year anniversary as a Major League franchise, all in the NL. But Acta said he believes the fans of Houston will come to support the team in the AL.
"Just like everything else, they'll get used to it," he said. "But at first, it's going to be hard."
Asdrubal heating up, among league leaders
HOUSTON -- Cleveland shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera is beginning to pile up some impressive numbers again this season.
Cabrera entered Sunday's series finale in Houston hitting .304 in June. He has hit safely in 20 of his last 23 games (27-for-90) with four homers and 14 RBIs. He has homered in four of his last seven games and three of his last four, including his ninth homer of the season Saturday. He's on pace to hit 21 homers.
"This is who he should be right here," manager Manny Acta said. "I think everything last year was blown out of proportion because he took the world by storm by hitting 25 homers and driving in 90-something runs. He hit .300 here before.
"This is the type of player he's going to be. He's going to hit double-digits in home runs, whether it's going to be in the 10s or the 20s depends on the year. He's going to drive in runs and he should be able to have a .360 on-base percentage. He's even better than that right now and solid defensively."
In addition, Cabrera is 13th in the league in hitting with a .300 average, one of just 13 players hitting .300 or better, and also ranks sixth with a .385 on-base percentage. Cabrera is second with a .375 average with runners on base. He leads American League shortstops in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
"That's the type of player he is," Acta said. "He's having a very good season. Last year, he was everywhere just because of all the home runs he was hitting. It's not only chicks that dig the long ball -- men, too. That's how he got so popular last year."
Catcher Carlos Santana got the day off on Sunday.
"It's the National League, [Astros] left-handed pitcher [J.A. Happ], and we need to get Lou [Marson] in there," Indians manager Manny Acta said. "Lou's been swinging the bat good against left-handers. It's a day game, you name it."
Cleveland is 8-9 in Interleague Play this season (7-7 vs. NL Central teams). The Tribe went 11-7 last year and are 29-42 since 2009. All-time, the Indians are 137-145 against the National League, including a 74-66 record at Progressive Field.
Shin-Soo Choo has hit in six straight games. Over that stretch, he is 10-for-26 (.385) with six doubles, a triple and a homer, four RBIs and four runs scored. He led the AL with 10 doubles in June entering Sunday.
Despite Saturday's 8-1 loss, the Tribe is 17-15 on the road this season, seventh-best in the American League and ninth-best in the Major Leagues. They are in the midst of a stretch (June 5-July 1) of playing 19 of their next 25 games away from Progressive Field.
Glenn Sattell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.