Rapid Reaction: Indians 5, Rangers 4
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Joe Nathan blew his first save since April 11 (the sixth game of the season) as the Indians came back from two runs down in the ninth to beat Texas, 5-4. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Rangers were not able to extend their AL West lead on the Oakland A's, who lost to the Angels earlier Thursday. So the lead remains three games. ... Texas is 0-for-6 in sweep chances since its last sweep, back on June 18-20 in San Diego. ... Texas had been 75-1 when leading after eight innings before Thursday's loss.
Rare blown save: Rangers closer Joe Nathan blew his first save in more than five months, ending a streak of 31 consecutive saves converted. Nathan came into the ninth with a two-run lead and gave up a solo home run to Ezequiel Carrera and then allowed a two-run homer to Jason Kipnis to give the Indians a 5-4 lead. ... Nathan gave up hits to four straight batters and was lifted in favor of Koji Uehara. ... It was Nathan's third straight game on the mound. It's the first time he's pitched three straight days since June 26-28 (two against Detroit, one against Oakland).
Lots of baserunners: Derek Holland seemed to be pitching with runners on base all night. He put at least one on in five of his seven innings and in four of those innings he dealt with two baserunners. It finally caught up to him in the sixth, when Matt LaPorta homered after Vinny Rottino singled. ... But the Indians left seven runners stranded against Holland, who allowed seven hits.
Holland homer: The LaPorta home run was his first of the season and it was the 27th allowed by Holland in 2012. That's good enough for sixth in the AL (Ervin Santana leads with 35).
Strange sacrifice, bounces: Vinny Rottino tried to bunt a high fastball down the first base line and it rolled foul in the eighth. But it hit the grass against the dirt as it rolled halfway up the line and spun back into fair territory just before the bag. Mitch Moreland had to glove it at that point and got the out, but the sacrifice worked. Had the Rangers gloved the ball in foul territory, it would have been a strike and Rottino would have likely tried again. ... Later that same inning, LaPorta's bouncer down the third base line stayed just inside the line before getting to the bag for an infield hit. It just seemed like the ball wanted to stay fair for the Indians in the eighth.
Ogando gets (big) outs: Alexi Ogando came in with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth and got the Rangers out of a major jam in a tie game. He got ahead to Lonnie Chisenhall 0-2 and then couldn't locate his slider to push the count to 3-2 before blowing a 97 mph fastball past him for a strikeout. Ogando then got Jack Hannahan to fly out to center. ... Tanner Scheppers started the inning and Martin Perez had a four-pitch walk to left-handed hitter Shin-Soo Choo before Ogando came in.
Young delivers: Michael Young had a solid game. He made a nice defensive play to get to a hard, low liner to his left in the fourth. He then had a hit the other way with runners in scoring position in the fourth to score the first run of the game. Young also singled to right in the sixth and singled to center to score the fourth run of the game. It was his second RBI and he has at least one RBI in nine of his last 13 games.
Taking advantage of mistakes: Once again, the Indians made a fielding error in this series and the Rangers pounced on it. Moreland's ground ball to third appeared to be a double play ball. But the throw from second base to first was high. That allowed Nelson Cruz to trot home with the second run of the game (and the fourth inning) to give Texas a 2-0 lead. ... In the eighth, an errant throw by shortstop Brent Lillibridge put Elvis Andrus at second base. He went to third on David Murphy's fly out and then scored when Cruz's ground ball to third was booted by Hannahan for the second error of the inning and third of the game.
Streak continues: The blown save allowed Andrus to come up with two outs in the ninth and he hit a triple to push his streak of hitting safely against the Cleveland Indians to 32 games. It's the longest hitting streak vs. one opponent in club history.
Uehara does job: Uehara entered the ninth inning with a runner in scoring position and no outs and was able to get out of the inning without allowing the run to score. He's been pitching well recently as his splitter has had great movement. He got all three left-handed batters he faced Wednesday and pitched out of the ninth-inning jam Thursday.
3 million strong: The Rangers passed the three-million mark in attendance this season. Read about that here.
Up next: Yu Darvish (14-9, 4.14 ERA) goes up against RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (6-4, 3.39 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW. Darvish is four strikeouts away from 200. He'd become just third AL rookie since 1976 to reach that mark.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss a hypothetical Jurickson Profar for Cliff Lee trade, how he would handle Profar's playing time with the Rangers and more.
Play Podcast Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus joins Galloway & Company to discuss having Scott Boras as his agent, his new contract and having Jurickson Profar in the lineup.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's pitch count and how he spends time in the clubhouse during weather delays.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news.
Play Podcast Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.
Play Podcast ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and if he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
- There are no games scheduled for today.