The Power of Choice; Rangers 6, Indians 4

The Indians had more hits against Rangers star pitcher Yu Darvish than any other team has had this season, but a late homerun by Texas DH Michael Choice proved to be the game winner in the Indians 6-4 defeat on Friday night in Arlington, Texas.

The Indians (30-31) snapped their six-game winning streak with the loss to the Rangers and fell back below .500 just two days after reaching the break-even point.  Darvish (6-2, 2.36) got his first career victory against the Tribe in his third attempt.

The Tribe countered the Japanese star with top pitching prospect Trevor Bauer (1-2, 4.08), who earned a no-decision in the contest.  Bauer took a couple of innings to settle down in the Texas heat, as the young right hander gave up four runs on five hits in the first two innings, but settled down and didn’t allow a run or any hits over the next 4.1 frames.

The Rangers early runs off of Bauer came in the bottom of the second, as a broken bat single by Alex Rios got the offense started for Texas.  After a double down the left field line by former Indian Chris Gimenez, the Rangers scored on three straight plays with a sacrifice fly by Leonys Martin, a single by Choice and then a crushed two-run homerun by Rougned Odor.  The blast was Odor’s second of the season.  Down in a hole against one of baseball’s best pitchers, the Tribe offense fought back courtesy of the long ball.

Asdrubal Cabrera started the rally with a one-out single in the third inning and Jason Kipnis followed suit two batters later.  Lonnie Chisenhall then continued his fantastic season by clanking his fourth homerun of the year off of the right field foul pole to cut the Rangers’ lead to 4-3.  The Tribe then tied the game when Cabrera launched a two-out, solo shot off of Darvish in the top of the fourth.

The game stayed tied into the bottom of the seventh when Bauer was pulled and replaced by reliever Marc Rzepczynski, who promptly allowed the opposite field homerun by Choice that just cleared the right field wall.  Choice’s deciding blow was his fifth homerun of the season.

A long and somewhat random streak continued in the eighth inning when Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus slapped an opposite field single off of Scott Atchison with one out.  The hit was significant because it extended his hitting streak against the Indians to a perfect 38 for 38 in his young career.  The streak ties the second longest by any player against a single team in baseball history—second only to former Angel Vladimir Guererro’s 44 games against the Rangers.

The Rangers tacked on an insurance run after Andrus’ single started the inning, as reliever Nick Hagadone followed the base knock by walking Mitch Moreland to push Andrus to second.  A stolen base against John Axford—the Tribe’s third pitcher of the inning—put Andrus at third and then he came home on a sacrifice fly to center fielder Michael Bourn by Adrian Beltre.  Former Royal Joakim Soria shut down the top of the Indians order in the ninth for his 13th save of the season.

The Indians will try to even the four-game wraparound series on Saturday as Josh Tomlin (3-2, 3.06) will face righty Nick Tepesch (2-1, 4.43).  The game is scheduled to begin at 4:05 and can be seen on Fox Sports 1 and heard on the Cleveland Indians Radio Network.

Photo: Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

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