All it took were two big swings tonight for the Texas Rangers to defeat the Indians for the third straight game, and for the Tribe to lose their fifth in a row at home, as a pair of two-run homers — one in the first inning from Josh Hamilton and the other in the seventh from Nelson Cruz. both off of Fausto Carmona — lifted Texas to a 4-0 win over Cleveland’s non-existent offense.
Carmona (3-7, 5.33 ERA) lasted 6.1 innings and surrendered seven hits, walking one and fanning two to go with the four runs.
To make things much worse, Vinnie Pestano came on for the ninth, warmed up and was pulled from the game without ever facing a batter.
Bad news there. Let’s hope that it might have just been the almost 90-degree heat at game-time.
Meanwhile, the Indians made another middle-of-the-road pitcher look like Cy Young, as the Rangers’ Derek Holland — he of a career record of 15-18 before tonight with an ERA of 5.38 — made the Tribe look foolish with a complete game shutout, holding Cleveland to only five hits. Holland (5-1, 4.36 ERA) twirled his second career shutout.
The Indians did threaten a couple of times. In the second Carlos Santana and Grady Sizemore led off with singles, but Shelley Duncan lined into a double play, with Santana being caught off of second, and another line drive from Austin Kearns ended the “rally”.
The best chance for the Tribe came in the sixth, when Cleveland loaded the bases thanks to a walk, a hit and an error. But Santana ended that chance with a ground out to third.
Then in the seventh the Indians put two on with one out, before Lou Marson and Adam Everett were retired.
And the Rangers? In the first, with one out, Elvis Andrus singled and Hamilton followed with his homer to the second deck in right to make it 2-0.
And, as so often happens, after the Indians’ best chance fizzled in the sixth, the Rangers struck in the seventh when Adrian Beltre walked and Cruz followed with his blast to the top of the bleachers, and that was all the scoring on this night.
The Indians drop to 33-23 with their eighth loss in eleven games. The Tigers were deadlocked with the White Sox as of this writing, and will either climb within 3.5 games or remain 4.5 behind, depending on the outcome of their game.
One more chance for the Indians against the Rangers will come on Sunday afternoon at 1:05, when Mitch Talbot tries to help avoid the first four-game losing streak of the season.