December 21, 2014

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Indians hit all the right notes, down Rangers to snap eight-game losing streak

ARLINGTON, Texas — Terry Francona liked the sound coming from the clubhouse around the corner from his office — the blaring music after a victory.

It had been awhile for the Cleveland Indians, especially on the road.
Corey Kluber, pitching less than 25 miles from where he went to high school, allowed one run over eight innings and the Indians snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory at Texas on Tuesday night.

“It’s good to get back in the ‘W’ column,” Mark Reynolds said. “We can stop worrying about it now and just relax and play ball.”

More photos below.

With the efficient effort by Kluber (4-4), some solid defense and timely hits, the Indians also snapped a 12-game road slide.

“We played a nice ballgame, and we kept the line moving at the plate,” Francona said. “Because of that you get to hear some music, which is a welcome sign.”

Reynolds had an RBI single in the fourth off Derek Holland (5-3) that put Cleveland ahead to stay. Drew Stubbs added a two-run single in the fifth and scored on a single by Nick Swisher, who had only two hits in his previous 28 at-bats.

Holland, who pitched a season-low 4⅓ innings, was 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA in his previous seven starts.

Holland struck out the game’s first three batters on 11 pitches. But the left-hander was gone after the Indians had scored three runs and his only walk loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. The Ohio native had been 3-0 in six previous career starts against Cleveland.

“You’ve got to give the Indians hitters credit,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “They fought for their at-bats and made him work. They got some hits when it mattered. You’re going to have some days when it just doesn’t work out.”

Neither team took pregame batting practice on the field after a busted water pipe under the infield caused a sinkhole right behind the mound. Workers had to dig more than 3 feet deep to fix the pipe, but completed the repair and had the grass back in place behind the mound about an hour before the game.

With his team mired in the losing streak, Francona joked before the game that there were no Bull Durham-like shenanigans by his team trying to get a day off.

The Indians were just fine, and happy when the game was over. Every starter in the lineup got a hit.

Kluber, who went to Coppell High School, struck out three with three walks and benefited from three double plays. He didn’t throw more than 10 pitches in an inning until the sixth.

“It really wasn’t any different than another game,” Kluber said. “I’ve seen, I couldn’t tell you how many games here. I’ve thrown here in college summer league. … It really didn’t feel any different.”

Francona was impressed.

“He’s getting better right in front of our eyes,” the manager said. “For him to go out there and kind of shoulder that responsibility … (we’re) really proud of him.”

Ryan Raburn had a leadoff double in the fourth and scored on Reynolds’ second hit of the game. Reynolds was 2-for-25 the first seven games of the trip that ends with today’s series finale.

Yan Gomes and Mike Aviles, the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters in the Cleveland lineup, had consecutive singles to start the fifth. Both moved up a base on Holland’s errant throw into center when trying to pick Gomes off second base. Stubbs followed with his runs-producing hit before Jason Kipnis was hit by a pitch to bring up Swisher.

“Thought I had a good game that first inning, when I was in control,” Holland said. “It was just an overall terrible performance. I didn’t have my fastball. I made some pitches that they just found holes.”

After Kluber walked Leury Garcia and Andrus to start the sixth, Garcia was thrown out trying to advance to third on David Murphy’s flyout to left.

Elvis Andrus led off the Texas first with a single but was quickly erased on a double play when Murphy lined out to third baseman Reynolds. Nelson Cruz grounded into a double play after A.J. Pierzynski’s leadoff walk in the second.

Murphy had an RBI double in the eighth. Pierzynski homered in the ninth off reliever Joe Smith.

Notable

  • Andrus has hit in all 34 career games against Cleveland, the longest hitting streak ever by a Texas player against one opponent.
  • Rangers DH Lance Berkman reached in the first on a bunt single toward third base — with the Indians infield shifted the other way and third baseman Reynolds near shortstop.
  • Kipnis led off the seventh with a walk, stole second base and scored on a wild pitch.

Tonight

  • WHO: Cleveland vs. Texas
  • TIME: 8:05
  • WHERE: Rangers Ballpark in Arlington
  • PITCHERS: Jimenez (4-4, 5.03 ERA) vs. Tepesch (3-5, 3.92)
  • TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio, ESPN; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM