The Indians laid an egg tonight, and unfortunately it is becoming more and more the norm than the exception as of late.
The Texas Rangers grabbed an early lead against Justin Masterson, and extended it against the bullpen, finally winning 11-2, for the Tribe’s fourth straight loss at home.
You remember when Cleveland won 14 in a row at home? I agree — I am having a hard time remembering it as well.
The Indians were overmatched by the Rangers’ Alexi Ogando, in what is also becoming a trend as of late. Yes, there have been some breakout offensive games, but more often than not, an effort such as Ogando’s is starting to be the new “normal” against the Tribe.
Texas scored in the second inning against Masterson (5-4, 3.28 ERA) when, with two outs, three straight singles plated a run, with the RBI going to Endy Chavez to make it 1-0.
The Rangers doubled their lead in the third when Michael Young scored Elvis Andrus on a fielder’s choice grounder.
Cleveland finally got on the board and made it 2-1 in the sixth. Michael Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera led off with singles, putting runners at the corners. Alas, Shin-Soo Choo hit into a double play, plating a run but not getting an RBI.
Even so, the Indians were within striking distance — briefly.
The Rangers put two on with one out in the seventh, finishing Masterson’s night. On came Tony Sipp, and Josh Hamilton greeted Sipp with a three-run homer to right, making it 5-1. And Texas was not done, as later in the inning, Nelson Cruz hit a two-run blast, and when the smoke had cleared, the Rangers were up 7-1.
Texas added three more in the eighth off of Chad Durbin, when — with the bases loaded — Andrus delivered a three-run double, making it 10-1.
Texas scored a single run in the top of the ninth off of Frank Herrmann on a Chavez single, and the Tribe added a run in the bottom half when Asdrubal Cabrera belted his 11th homer of the year off of Yoshinori Tateyama.
Ogando moves to 6-0 with his eight innings of one-run ball, and lowers his ERA to 2.20.
Masterson, on the other hand, has not won in almost six weeks. Justin went 6.1 innings, allowing four runs on ten hits, with one walk and seven punch-outs.
This series will continue on Saturday at 7:05 with Fausto Carmona on the hill for the Tribe.
If there is any good news (as of this writing), it is that the second-place Tigers are losing to the White Sox. If that holds up, the Tribe will still lead the AL Central by 4.5 games.
But it is starting to not have the feel of being in first place anymore. The Tribe needs to break out of this swoon — like, immediately?