Three hits for the Indians, only one for extra bases. Two Rangers’ home runs, as for the second game in a row the only RBI come on the long ball. A fine start by Mitch Talbot wasted. And the Detroit Tigers comfortably ahead of the Chicago White Sox and threatening to move to within 2.5 games of the lead in the AL Central.
Welcome to the first Sunday of what is becoming a June swoon.
With the loss today at Progressive Field, the Tribe has lost four in a row and nine of 12. Not only that, but Cleveland has now lost six in a row at home, where just a few weeks ago they were almost invincible. And Texas has swept the Indians in a four-game series in Cleveland for the first time since 1978.
This time C.J. Wilson and the Texas bullpen shut the Tribe down most effectively, extending an Indians’ scoring drought that extends back to Asdrubal Cabrera’s homer in the ninth inning on Friday night.
Wilson (6-3, 3.03 ERA) went 7.2 innings, surrendering all three hits, while walking two and K’ing seven.
Darren Oliver got the last out in the bottom of the eighth, and Neftali Feliz earned his 13th save with a one-two-three ninth.
Talbot (2-2, 4.18 ERA) went six frames and allowed both runs, striking out four, walking three and giving up eight hits.
In other words, Talbot battled, and kept his team in the game. All for nothing as it turned out, but it would have been easy to give up the big inning and Talbot is to be credited for avoiding that.
Joe Smith, Tony Sipp and Chris Perez all tossed a scoreless inning, as the bullpen did a fine job of holding the Rangers at bay.
Mitch Moreland gave the Rangers all the offense they would need when he belted his eighth homer in the second inning, but Texas added what turned out to be an insurance run in the third when Elvis Andrus hit his third.
Odd to be talking about an insurance run scoring in the third inning, but with the Indians’ struggles to score for most of this 9-of-12 slump, an “insurance run” is what it felt like…and what it turned out to be.
The Tribe never put more than one runner on base at the same time today, and twice Orlando Cabrera grounded into a double play when Michael Brantley had reached leading off — once in the very first inning, to set the tone for this very frustrating day and putting an exclamation point on this maddening series.
Now the Indians await the Minnesota Twins, who will visit Cleveland for three games beginning on Monday night. Josh Tomlin will get the first shot at the Twins, and though he may need to throw a shutout to keep his team in the game, Tomlin seems to have the stuff to make that happen if need be.
The Indians sure could use a spark such as that.