December 19, 2014

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Lonnie Chisenhall’s hot bat helps Indians defeat Rangers, pick up back-to-back road wins for first time this season

Cleveland Indians' Lonnie Chisenhall is congratulated by teammates after scoring a run on an RBI by Asdrubal Cabrera, not pictured, during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Sunday in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Cleveland Indians’ Lonnie Chisenhall is congratulated by teammates after scoring a run on an RBI by Asdrubal Cabrera, not pictured, during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers, Sunday in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

ARLINGTON, Texas — Thanks in large part to Lonnie Chisenhall’s big weekend in Texas, Cleveland can finally celebrate back-to-back wins on the road.

Chisenhall had two hits and scored twice and starter Justin Masterson picked up his first road win of the season, 3-2 over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

Starting at third base for the second straight game after five consecutive starts at first, Chisenhall singled and scored in the fifth and sixth innings.

With five hits in the series, including a three-run homer off Texas ace Yu Darvish in the opener, Chisenhall has raised his average to .365, highest in the majors among players with at least 150 plate appearances.

The four-game set wraps up today.

“He’s been a big part of about everything we’ve done,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “He’s been in the middle of it seems like all our rallies.”

Adrian Beltre and Alex Rios had two hits each for the injury-riddled Rangers, who learned before the game they will be without first baseman Mitch Moreland for three months. Moreland needs surgery on his ailing left ankle.

“It is tough,” Rios said. “But the only way you can see it is to keep going. If you quit, it’s going to be a long season.”

The Indians, who started the series with the worst road record in baseball, won consecutive games away from home for the first time this season.

“We’re playing better defense, we’re pitching better,” Chisenhall said. “Our situational hitting is way better than it was. We’re not leaving guys on base.”

Masterson (4-4) gave up five hits and two runs in 5⅔ innings after throwing seven shutout innings against Boston at home in his last start. Bryan Shaw pitched two scoreless innings, and Cody Allen struck out two in a perfect ninth for his sixth save.

Left-hander Joe Saunders (0-2) is winless in four starts for Texas after allowing seven hits and three runs — two earned — with four walks in 5⅓ innings.

The Rangers got within a run in the sixth when Beltre doubled and Rios followed with a triple. Masterson kept the Indians in front by getting Chris Gimenez on a weak grounder to first, and reliever Marc Rzepczynski ended the threat with a groundout from Leonys Martin.

Masterson was 0-3 with a 5.73 ERA on the road coming in and hadn’t won away from home since Aug. 21 at the Los Angeles Angels.

“Building off what we did last time, we made some good adjustments in between from my last start and wanted to continue those,” Masterson said. “It’s helped the effort level be good, to be more under control, to throw more strikes.”

Rios reached base for the third time on a walk in the eighth and was called safe on a steal attempt. The Indians won a replay challenge of Lance Barksdale’s call, ending the inning.

The Rangers started the day with a major league-leading 12 players on the disabled list before finding out about Moreland’s upcoming surgery on an ankle that’s been bothering him all season. Moreland was the replacement for Prince Fielder, who’s out for the year after neck surgery.

Texas couldn’t even get Moreland to the DL before rookie Rougned Odor sprained his right shoulder diving headfirst back to first base on a pickoff throw by Cleveland catcher Yan Gomes. Odor, who was tagged out, will be re-evaluated today.

“I don’t want to seem like I don’t care,” manager Ron Washington said. “I’ve got to focus on the games that we’re playing right now with the personnel I have right now. We’ve been playing competitive and that’s what we’ve got to continue to do.”

Notable

  • David Murphy had two hits and a sacrifice fly to continue a strong weekend in his return to Texas after spending six-plus seasons with the Rangers. He has five hits with today’s series finale remaining.
  • Elvis Andrus was 0-for-4 to snap a 39-game hitting streak against Cleveland. It was the second-longest streak against one team in the majors going back to 1914, according to STATS.
  • Indians hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo missed the game to attend his son Cameron’s graduation at the University of Washington.


TONIGHT

WHO: Cleveland vs. Texas
TIME: 8:05
WHERE: Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas
PITCHERS: House (0-1, 3.79 ERA) vs. Martinez (1-2, 3.22)
TV/RADIO: SportsTime Ohio; WEOL 930-AM, WTAM 1100-AM, WMMS 100.7-FM

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