ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers gave a big Ballpark crowd of 45,200 on Yu Darvish bobblehead night very little to get excited about in the first seven innings of a 5-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Cleveland right-hander Corey Kluber, a product of Coppell, was superb in his homecoming start, limiting the Rangers to six hits and one run in eight innings.
Grounded offense: Kluber had the Rangers banging the ball into the dirt. Texas hit into 13 ground balls, one turning into a double play. Murphy’s shoe-top liner to third baseman Mark Reynolds was the only out speared in the air in the first four innings and that, too, turned into a double play. Elvis Andrus was running on the play.
The Rangers trailed by five runs by the time they finally nicked Kluber for a run in the eighth inning.
Short outing: Derek Holland couldn’t have pitched a more impressive first inning, striking out the side. So it was surprising to see the Texas lefty last beaten on April 27 fail to get through five innings. The Indians sent him to an early shower with a nine-hit attack that turned into four runs.
For Holland, the 4.1-inning outing was his shortest of the season. And it turned into his first loss to the Indians in four career decisions.
Streaking Elvis: With a first-inning single, Andrus extended his hitting streak against Cleveland to 34 straight games, tying for the fourth-longest in the majors against one team since 1945. Vladimir Guerrero owns the longest streak, 44 games against the Rangers. Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury hit in 38 in a row against Baltimore for the No. 2 spot.
Andrus on Tuesday matched the streak of Toronto’s George Bell, who also picked on Cleveland, as did the No. 3 man on the list, Ken Griffey Jr., who hit in 35 straight while a Mariner. Elvis has a chance to match Griffey’s total in Wednesday’s series finale against the Indians.
Costly gamble: Trailing by four runs in the back half of a game, giving up an out on the basepaths is a big no-no. It happened to the Rangers in the sixth. A pair of walks gave the Rangers their first runner in scoring position. But not for long. Leury Garcia tried to tag and advanced to third on a fly ball to left. Garcia was shot down on a strong throw by Michael Brantley and a clever catch-and-tag by Reynolds.
Fear the beard: Reliever Kyle McClellan saved Holland further ERA damage by throwing an inning-ending double-play ball with the bases loaded in the fifth after Cleveland had already scored three runs. It was McClellan's second appearance since promotion from Round Rock on Sunday. McClellan didn't allow a hit in 2.2 innings, the only blemish on his impressive outing a wild pitch that scored the Indians' fifth run in the seventh inning.
Don’t mess with Murph: Carlos Santana unwisely tried to take an extra base on Murphy in the second inning. Chalk up the third outfield assist of the season for the Rangers left fielder. Murphy went into the left-center alley to glove Santana’s hit and made an accurate throw to second baseman Garcia in plenty of time to apply a tag.
The outfield assist was the 36th for Murphy since becoming a Ranger in 2007.