CLEVELAND — It was all about the Texas Rangers on Sunday at Progressive Field.
Holding a home run-fueled victory party at the Indians’ home ballpark, the American League-leading Rangers wrapped up the series with an 8-3 decision that sent Cleveland to its 17th loss in 21 games.
After evening the series by snapping a six-game skid Saturday, the Indians and their makeshift lineup in the finale were no match for the powerful Rangers, who won for the eighth time in 11 games.
“I think they’re probably the best team, period,” Cleveland manager Manny Acta said of Texas, which has scored more runs than any team in baseball this year. “Their lineup is so deep, their defense and then their pitching. They have Roy Oswalt as a spot starter, and the arms they bring at you out of the bullpen. They have a very good team.
“You don’t go two back-to-back World Series without being a good team. I think they’ll probably be back in the World Series again.”
With Zach McAllister working one of the worst outings by a Cleveland starter this year and playing without resting All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, center fielder Michael Brantley and right fielder Shin-Soo Choo, the Indians were rarely included in the festivities that saw the club limp to its a 5-12 record over its last 17 games at home.
McAllister became the first Indians pitcher this season to allow four homers in a game, serving up three alone on seven pitches to Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre and David Murphy in the fifth inning. Hamilton and Beltre went back-to-back.
Rangers second baseman Jurickson Profar, 19, hit the first Texas homer in his first big league at-bat to lead off the third inning.
Though two other players — San Diego’s Eddy Rodriguez and Pittsburgh’s Sterling Marte — have hit homers in their first career big league at-bat this season, Profar is the youngest to hit a MLB homer of any kind since Beltre did it at the same age for the Dodgers in 1998. Profar is one of the just three teenagers in MLB history — New York Giants’ Whitey Lockman (18) in 1945 and Cincinnati’s Ted Tappe (19) in 1950 — to homer in his debut at-bat.
Practically all of Texas’ hitters looked impressive against McAllister, who allowed seven runs on 11 hits over five innings.
“Zach didn’t have very good stuff today,” Acta said. “His breaking ball wasn’t very sharp. He was just throwing it up there.
“Obviously, that’s the wrong team not to bring your A-game against.”
“You have to have your best stuff against that lineup,” McAllister said.
Though he looked like a strong candidate for a rotation spot in 2013, McAllister has struggled as of late. Since going 4-1 with a 3.18 ERA over his first 10 starts, the right-hander is 1-4 and has allowed five or more runs in four of his last seven outings.
“He’s still a work in progress, especially with the secondary stuff,” Acta said. “But we still like what he brings to the table.”
Rangers starter Derek Holland brought plenty to the table against an inexperienced Cleveland lineup that included six players who were not on the team’s Opening Day roster.
The left-hander allowed two runs — all on Carlos Santana’s homer in the third — on seven hits, while striking out six over seven innings.
The Indians were on the verge of falling into a tie with Minnesota for the worst record in the AL, but the Twins also lost.
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