BY: Richard W. Humphrey
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers avoided a sweep at the hands of the Cleveland Indians with a 5-0 win over the Tribe in Sunday’s series finale. Cleveland took two of three over the weekend to send Texas to its third straight losing series and its fourth series loss out of the last five. Notably, three of those five series losses are to the teams currently leading the American League’s three divisions.
The Rangers fall to 42-58 and trail the first place Houston Astros by 23 games after winning just four games out of the last 15. As for getting out of last place, the Rangers are four games behind fourth place Los Angeles.
Cole Hamels was the originally announced Texas starting pitcher Sunday, but the Rangers decided to push Hamels back a day and go with Yovani Gallardo on Sunday. Looking at Hamels splits between day and night games, it was a wonder that Hamels was even named to start Sunday at all. He’s been terrible during the day, and pretty good at night.
Gallardo was very good Sunday, winning his fourth game (against one loss) with six shutout innings. He gave up just three hits. Rougned Odor had a big day driving in Delino DeShields in the third inning for a 1-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Odor again drove in DeShields, this time with a sacrifice fly to doubled the lead to 2-0.
Jose Leclerc, Jake Diekman and Cory Gearrin finished off the Tribe with a scoreless inning apiece after Gallardo departed, and the Rangers put up three more runs in the eighth inning for the win, one of which came on Odor’s seventh home run of the year.
The Rangers came back from the All-Star break and began the second half with an extra inning loss to Cleveland Friday night. Ranger starter Martin Perez threw four good innings and two bad ones, giving up three runs in both the second and sixth innings.
The Rangers took brief leads in the first inning (1-0) and in the fifth inning (4-3). Cleveland’s three run innings quickly erased those leads. When they added another run in the seventh, they looked in charge of the game at 7-4. Not so fast. Joey Gallo hit a two run home run in the Rangers’ half of the seventh inning to cut the lead to a run at 7-6. Cleveland added another run in the ninth to lead 8-6 with three outs to go.
It looked like a done deal for the Tribe as Rougned Odor struck out and Ronald Guzman flew out to start the inning. Robinson Chirinos was the Rangers’ last hope, and he passed the baton to Gallo by hitting a home run to cut the lead to 8-7. Gallo followed with his second home run of the game to tie the score and send the game to extra innings.
The Rangers then looked to have the game in hand in the bottom of the 10th inning. Keone Kela had set down Cleveland in the top of the inning, and three Ranger singles to open the bottom of the 10th loaded the bases. Cleveland’s Zach McAllister rose to the occasion. He coaxed a ground ball to third base that resulted in a force out at home, and then he struck out the next two batters.
The Rangers were down to their last reliever in the 11th inning – Matt Moore. He gave up a run, and Texas didn’t answer in their half of the inning. Cleveland won 9-8.
Moore is 1-6 with the loss. Perez’s pitching line was an ugly six earned runs allowed on 10 hits in six innings.
The Tribe clinched the series win Saturday night in a clunker game for Texas. Ranger starting pitcher Bartolo Colon got knocked out in the fifth inning giving up five earned runs on eight hits.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx was called up Saturday to give the Rangers’ bullpen a fresh arm. He followed Colon and probably wished he’d stayed in Round Rock. The Indians beat him up for 11 runs on 13 hits in four innings, a new Ranger team record for runs allowed by a relief pitcher. In essence, Bibens-Dirkx took one for the team keeping the six relievers that saw action Friday night off the field.
16-3 was the final score. Colon is 5-8 with the loss, and his ERA is up to 4.85.
Texas now finishes the home stand with four games against Oakland. Cole Hamels, Mike Minor, Martin Perez and Bartolo Colon are the announced pitchers.
* Adrian Beltre now has 3,117 career hits passing Alex Rodriguez for 20th place on the all time hit list. He needs 25 more hits to pass Tony Gwinn for 19th place.
* Shin-Soo Choo went 0-4 with two strikeouts Saturday night to end his streak of reaching base at 52 games.
* The start time temperature for all three games exceeded 100 degrees. The temperature Friday and Saturday nights was 107, the hottest start time temperature in the history of Globe Life Ballpark.
* Joey Gallo left Sunday’s game with a sprained ankle, but after the game, he told reporters that he expected to be able to play Monday night.