Beltre Blasts Rangers By Tribe; Rangers 5, Indians 2
By Mike Brandyberry
The Tribe was able to waste an outstanding pitching effort by the Rangers Derek Holland, but the bullpen could not hold the game and gave up a three run home run to Adrian Beltre in extra innings. The Indians lost Saturday evening in eleven innings, 5-2.
Beltre’s pinch-hit home run off Joe Smith in the bottom of the eleventh inning gave the Rangers a victory they easily could have obtained a few frames earlier.
“It was a fastball I left up and that’s what happens when you get behind guys,” Indians reliever Joe Smith said. “When you put hitters in hitters counts, especially Beltre, they’ll get you.”
Holland, a Newark, Ohio native, has now made two starts at Progressive Field and has shined in both. Last year, he threw a five-hit, complete game shutout. Saturday, he pitched seven and one-third innings, allowing two runs, but only one earned.
“We battled them really hard tonight,” manager Manny Acta said. “We just couldn’t get that third run across.”
While Holland dominated, the crafty veteran Derek Lowe grinded his way through the potent Rangers lineup without his best command or control. He battled through six innings, recording 16 ground ball outs to keep himself and the Tribe in the game.
“Lowe did a great job despite fighting command issues,” Acta said. “His sinker helped him out of trouble.”
Lowe worked out of a jam in the first when he allowed a base hit to Elvis Andrus, walked Josh Hamilton and David Murphy to load the bases before getting Nelson Cruz to weakly ground out to Asdrubal Cabrera to end the inning. However, his luck would not be so good in the second inning when Mike Napoli singled off Lowe’s glove for an infield hit. After back to back ground outs advanced Napoli to third, Ian Kinsler hit a 30-foot ground ball toward third that left the Indians with no play. Napoli scrambled home, giving the Rangers an early 1-0 lead.
The Rangers would strike again in the fourth inning, but it could have been much worse. After Cruz and Napoli singled to start the inning, Mitch Moreland doublEd High off the right field fence. It was nearly a home run, but still good enough to score Cruz, giving the Rangers a two run lead. But, Alberto Gonzalez’s ground ball to shortstop became a double play when Cabrera was able to tag Moreland—who was too far off second base—and throw to first. Kinsler grounded to third to end the inning and Lowe escaped the inning with minimal damage.
Lowe, like a classic veteran, was able to battle a tough Rangers lineup without his best stuff and give the Indians a chance to win. He was far from perfect, yet he pitched six innings, allowing nine hits, two runs, walking two and striking out one. The double to Moreland in the fourth inning was his lone mistake.
“It sounds silly, but that was probably my best game personally,” Lowe said. “It is gratifying when you don’t have your best stuff, especially against that lineup.”
Nick Hagadone relieved Lowe, holding the Rangers in check for two innings and only allowing one hit.
Meanwhile the Indians had little answer for Holland. The lefty locked up the Tribe all evening. They tried to rally in the sixth inning when Asdrubal Cabrera singled to left field and Carlos Santana walked with two outs, but Travis Hafner grounded out weakly to first base to end the inning.
With one out in the eighth inning, the Indians finally got to Holland. Brantley singled to left field before Kipnis hit a bouncing ball over Moreland’s head and into right field for a base hit. Mike Adams relieved Holland with runners on the corners, but Cabrera would rip a double down the right field line to score Brantley and move Kipnis to third.
With Santana at the plate and a chance to tie or take the lead with a base hit, it appeared Napoli was crossed up on a pitch. The swinging strike by Santana handcuffed Napoli and went all the way to the screen for a passed ball, allowing Kipnis to score. Santana struck out with the infield drawn in and Hafner broke his bat grounding out to first base but the Indians had tied the game at two. The inability to take the lead with the go-ahead run on third base with only one out would loom large.
Vinnie Pestano worked a scoreless top of the ninth inning, striking out Kinsler to cheers from the crowd of 21,307. The Tribe would try to rally again in the ninth inning, but a leadoff base hit by Shin-Soo Choo was only followed by a pinch-hit pop up by Johnny Damon before Hannahan grounded into a double play.
The Indians would let the game get away from them in the eleventh with Joe Smith working his second inning when Chris Gentry led off the inning with a walk. Cruz grounded to Kipnis in what should have been a smooth double play, but Cabrera dropped the ball on the transfer resulting in a fielder’s choice. Once Napoli grounded out to third, the Tribe elected to walk Moreland, but Beltre pinch-hit and crushed a 456-foot home run to dead centerfield.
“Every matchup we had was better against the next guy,” Acta said. “It was my decision. Smitty has always been fine against Beltre until tonight.”
Had Cabrera been able to turn the double play, Beltre would have never had the chance to hit in the inning. Instead, Alexi Ogando earns his first victory in relief this season for Texas, while Smith (1-1) suffers the loss for Cleveland.
Smith accepted the blame for the home run and didn’t feel any responsibility was on Cabrera. “Ninety-nine times out of 100, they turn that double play,” Smith said. “Look at all the great plays Cabbie made last year, most of them were bailing me out.”
The Tribe will try to win the rubber match on Sunday when Ubaldo Jimenez (2-2, 5.02 ERA) continues to try and find his 2010 success while battling the Rangers, Yu Darvish (4-0, 2.18). Darvish is in his first Major League season after signing as a free agent from Japan. The game can be heard at 1:05 on the Indians Radio Network and Sports Time Ohio.
Photo: Jason Miller/Getty Images