CLEVELAND -- In what was the first night of a 10-game trip, the Texas Rangers could not have started things off on a worse note.
Though they had won all four series openers since the All-Star break and most recently took two of three games from the New York Yankees, the Rangers fell victim to subpar pitching and a Cleveland Indians team that simply would not stop hitting.
The end result was a 12-2 drubbing. But this one wasn’t even as close as the final score would ultimately dictate, as every Indians starter would register at least one hit and their pitching was downright dominant after the second inning.
Rangers’ starting pitcher Jerome Williams took his fifth loss of the season and managed to increase his ERA by more than a full run, giving up 10 earned runs, 13 hits and three walks in only four innings of work. Conversely, Indians starter Danny Salazar threw six innings of baseball with no earned runs, giving up four hits, striking out four and walking three.
Former Rangers outfielder David Murphy was 4-for-4, including two doubles, two runs scored and two RBIs. His teammate and fellow outfielder Michael Brantley (.320, .891 OPS) was 3-for-4 with a double, one run scored and two RBIs.
How it happened: Cleveland’s runs came early and often. Brantley singled home infielder Mike Aviles in the bottom of the first inning and the first run of the game. Texas would threaten in the top of the second, but the inning would end as Murphy gunned down a half-running Adrian Beltre at home to end the inning.
The Indians would score twice in each of the third and fourth innings before registering six more runs in the bottom of the fifth. A Carlos Santana walk would be followed by hits from Lonnie Chisenhall, Nick Swisher, Yan Gomes and Murphy, snowballing and promptly signaling the end of Williams’ night. Nate Adcock would toss a wild pitch and give up single to Aviles to add on a few more scores. The inning would end with back-to-back diving catches by Jim Adduci and Shin-Soo Choo.
The two Rangers runs came in a very anti-climactic manner. The first was unearned as Robinson Chirinos would score on a fielder’s choice having wound up a third base on an error in right field. The second came in the top of the ninth after indifference allowed Daniel Robertson to score on an Elvis Andrus single. Beltre (.327, .890 OPS) and Chirinos were the only bright spots for the Rangers offense, combining to go 4-for-6 with a walk, a double and a run scored. Relief pitcher Scott Baker tossed two perfect frames, striking out four.
Going streaking: With an infield hit in the top of the seventh inning, Rangers shortstop Andrus extended his Progressive Field hitting streak to 23 games. Beginning on Aug. 11, 2009, Andrus is hitting .395 (34-86) with 11 walks, two home runs and 11 RBIs. It marks the highest average by any player in the stadium’s 20-year history and is the longest hit streak ever by a Ranger in a road city. The player who ranks second on Progressive Field’s list is former Ranger Michael Young, who hit safely in 20 straight games from 2004 to 2008.
Rough night, kid: Phil Klein’s MLB debut could have gone better. The towering right-hander, who carried an 18 1/3 scoreless inning streak in Triple-A, entered the game in the sixth inning with the Rangers down 11-1 and promptly gave up a home run to deep right off of the bat of Chisenhall. The 25-year-old then hit rookie outfielder Tyler Holt with a pitch, balked him over to second base and gave up an infield single to Murphy. Only one run would score, but the outing was far from the dominant work Klein was used to in Round Rock.
Rocky road: The loss marks the Texas’ fourth straight road defeat. The Rangers have managed to fall short in seven of the last nine and 17 of their last 20 games away from Arlington, Texas. They’re 7-23 on the road since May 30 after starting the season 15-10.
The game within the game: Rangers manager Ron Washington was a perfect 2-for-2 on his in-game challenges, leading to a double play and an inning-ending out at third base..
What’s next? Texas right-hander Miles Mikolas (1-3, 8.54 ERA) will square off against Indians left-hander TJ House (1-2, 4.50) on Saturday night at 6:05 CT as the Rangers look to put this one in the rear view. The Indians are set to unveil a long-awaited statue of former slugger Jim Thome prior to the first pitch.