TORONTO -- When the Indians take a lead into the eighth inning, manager Manny Acta is very confident his team will hold on for the victory.
The reason is simple: He has one of the best late-inning tandems in baseball in setup man Vinnie Pestano and closer Chris Perez.
"They have been lights-out, we are in good shape when Pestano comes into the game, followed by Chris," Acta said.
Pestano leads the Majors in holds with 24 to accompany a 1.70 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, while averaging 10.95 strikeouts per nine innings.
Entering play Saturday, since June 1, and 15 1/3 innings of work, Pestano has allowed just one earned run. For the season, he has held hitters to a .168 average, which is fifth among all American League relievers.
Acta said on days when Perez is unavailable, he has no concerns turning to Pestano to close out games.
"He's fearless, he's very deceptive. I don't think guys can pick up his fastball. It's very good, plus it's not straight," Acta said. "It has a natural cut to it and he has a very good slider, too."
Perez, meanwhile, recorded his 25th save -- in his 27th opportunity -- in Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays, which is tied for second in the AL.
Acta believes the late innings, and especially the ninth, aren't for every player, and that it takes a
different mentality to succeed under that type of pressure.
Luckily for the Indians, they have two players who can fill that void, in the eyes of their skipper.
"They know how important they are to the ballclub," Acta said.