The Rangers lit up Zach McAllister in the middle innings and Derek Holland had a strong outing as Texas beat the Tribe 8-3 Sunday in the rubber match of a three-game series at Progressive Field. The loss drops the Indians to 56-78, 17 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central.
Both teams’ bats were quiet until the third inning. Jurickson Profar homered in his first MLB at-bat to lead off the top of the third; Nelson Cruz‘ ground-rule double and David Murphy‘s two-run single later in the inning made it 4-0 Texas. The Indians responded in the bottom of the frame as Carlos Santana took Holland deep for a two-run homer that cut the Rangers’ lead in half.
Things got out of hand in the top of the fifth. Josh Hamilton started the inning with a solo home run. Four pitches later, Adrian Beltre went yard to make it back-to-back jack. Two pitches later, McAllister served up another home run to Murphy as Texas jumped out to a 7-2 lead.
The offense then took a hiatus until the eighth inning, when Michael Young doubled in Elvis Andrus to put Texas up 8-2. An RBI double from Thomas Neal in his MLB debut gave the Tribe a run in the bottom of the eighth, but it was far too little, too late as the Rangers cruised to an 8-3 win.
The Good: Carlos Santana went 2-for-4 with a home run and a double; Jason Kipnis also had a multihit game. On the other side of the ball, Scott Barnes threw two innings of scoreless relief to cool the Rangers’ hot offense.
The Bad: Zach McAllister suffered through maybe his worst start of the year, giving up seven runs on 11 hits in just five innings pitched. Worst of all, he allowed four home runs. The long ball has been his Achilles heel this year, so seeing him give up more than a hat trick was a particularly discouraging sign.
The “Huh?”: Thomas Neal was the Indians’ No. 5 hitter Sunday. In addition to the question of why a not-very-vaunted rookie who hadn’t played a game over Double-A this year was hitting ahead of names like Matt LaPorta and Ezequiel Carrera, it’s a sad reflection on the state of the team that a not-very-vaunted rookie who hadn’t played a game over Double-A this year made his debut in the heart of the order.
Interesting Tidbit: Sunday marked the second time in four games that the Indians allowed four home runs.