With their lead in the AL West shrinking, the Texas Rangers should be happy to return home.
Facing the stumbling Cleveland Indians will make them feel even better.
After their quietest offensive performance of the season, the Rangers look to rebound and continue their home success Tuesday night against the Indians.
Texas entered Sunday's game at Tampa Bay with a chance to win its seventh straight series, but instead managed only two singles and three total baserunners against James Shields in a 6-0 loss. That left the Rangers (83-57) with a 6-4 record on their road trip, and they'll open this series with a three-game lead over surging Oakland in the West."Today definitely wasn't our day, but we're playing well," designated hitter Michael Young said.
The three-game lead is the Rangers' smallest since they led the Los Angeles Angels by that same margin entering play on Aug. 1.
Six consecutive home games against sub-.500 teams Cleveland (59-82) and Seattle give Texas ample opportunity to inch closer to its third straight division title. The Rangers' 43 home wins are tied with Detroit for most in the AL and they've won 11 of 15 in Arlington since the beginning of August.
Cleveland will become the final AL team to visit Texas this season after the clubs split the first six meetings at Progressive Field. The Rangers have won 24 of 31 against the Indians, including 10 of 12 at home.
Adrian Beltre shouldn't mind seeing the Indians again since he's 9 for 17 with three homers and six RBIs in the season series. He's 4 for 9 with a pair of doubles against scheduled starter Ubaldo Jimenez .
Although his nine-game hitting streak came to an end Sunday, the third baseman is still batting .381 with five homers and a 1.252 OPS in the last 10 games.
"It's one of my best years, but I still have a long way to go," Beltre told the team's official website. "I've been able to stay consistent, which is one of the things I wanted to do. I wanted to try not to get into deep slumps."
Monday's 7-2 loss at Minnesota was the Indians' 20th in 25 games and dropped them into a last-place tie with the Twins in the AL Central."No one wants to finish last, but we need to show up every day and play the game," manager Manny Acta said. "That's the last thing on the back of your head. You just need to get out there and play again. No one wants to finish last, it's not a secret."
The Indians will attempt to become the third straight team to beat Matt Harrison (15-9, 3.37 ERA), who had his originally scheduled start pushed back two days following a pair of dismal performances.
After going 2-1 with a 1.21 ERA in his previous three starts, the left-hander has posted a 9.00 ERA while losing his past two. He matched his shortest start since early May in a 6-3 loss at Kansas City on Tuesday, allowing five runs - three earned - and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Harrison is 1-2 with a 5.17 ERA in three career starts against the Indians.
Jimenez (9-15, 5.58) hopes to avoid adding to his major league-leading loss total. The right-hander lost his third consecutive start and fourth straight decision Wednesday, giving up four runs and six hits over 7 1-3 innings in a 7-1 defeat at Detroit.
Although he remained winless since Aug. 9, Jimenez had his longest outing in 12 starts and held the Tigers scoreless from the second through the seventh.
He is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts against the Rangers this season.
|September 09, 2012||Asdrubal Cabrera||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right wrist|
|August 27, 2012||Roberto Hernandez||Day-to-Day||Left game - sprained right ankle|
|August 13, 2012||Josh Tomlin||60-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|August 13, 2012||Jason Kipnis||Day-to-Day||Stiff neck|
|August 06, 2012||Travis Hafner||Day-to-Day||Back soreness|
|August 06, 2012||Travis Hafner||15-Day DL||Lower back inflammation|
|September 09, 2012||Roy Oswalt||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right elbow|
|September 02, 2012||Ian Kinsler||Day-to-Day||Lower back stiffness|
|August 31, 2012||Tyler Tufts||15-Day DL||Surgery, perforated bowel|
|August 30, 2012||Robbie Ross||15-Day DL||Strained left forearm|
|August 28, 2012||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left elbow|
|August 22, 2012||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Right quad tightness|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Matt Harrison got some extra rest and finally his 16th victory for the AL West-leading Texas Rangers .
Harrison got into the sixth inning and Adrian Beltre was awarded his 31st homer after a replay review, leading the Rangers to a 6-4 victory over the struggling Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night.
Harrison (16-9), pitching seven days after his second consecutive loss, didn't allow a runner until the fourth and struck out six over 5 2-3 innings.
"The first three innings he was as sharp as he could possibly be," manager Ron Washington said. "All of a sudden he was not as crisp as he was, and it was three innings in a row. But he got us into the sixth. For a minute, I thought he'd go way deep in the game without a lot of pitches."
Texas scored four times in the second, which started with Beltre reaching on an error that led to three unearned runs. One of those runs scored on the 16th wild pitch by Ubaldo Jimenez (9-16), who has the most losses and wild pitches in the majors.
Joe Nathan , who began the day in a Tony Romo uniform, worked a perfect ninth for his 32nd save. The right-hander has converted a career-high 30 chances in a row, a Rangers record.
Cleveland, which dropped to 15-42 since the All-Star break, was still searching for its first baserunner before Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Kipnis opened the fourth with consecutive walks. Harrison got out of that jam with a double-play grounder and a strikeout.
"Definitely a lot better than the last two," said Harrison, an All-Star left-hander who allowed 10 earned runs in 10 innings over his previous two starts. "Those extra two days definitely helped get my legs back under me."
Brent Lillibridge drew a one-out walk in the fifth before Jason Donald singled for Cleveland's first hit. Lillibridge scored on Ezequiel Carrera 's RBI single.
The Rangers opened their six-game homestand three games ahead of Oakland, matching their smallest division lead since the All-Star break. The A's kept pace after holding on for a 6-5 victory at the Los Angeles Angels later Tuesday night.
With general manager Chris Antonetti on hand for the final series of their 10-game trip, the Indians played pretty much the same way they have for nearly four months.
"Things haven't gone right the whole second half. We're battling, we're keeping our head up and trying to finish strong," manager Manny Acta said. "But the whole second half has been rough for us."
Harrison allowed five hits and walked three, all the runners coming in his last 2 2-3 innings. He became the fourth AL pitcher with 16 wins.
Jimenez is 1-9 in 12 starts since the All-Star break. The Indians are 37-67 since they led the AL Central by four games on May 17, and have the AL's worst record at 59-83.
Jimenez struck out four and walked four while allowing five runs (only two earned) and four hits over five innings.
Beltre led off the fifth with a ball that ricocheted high off the top of the left-field wall and was initially ruled a double. Umpires reviewed the play and changed it to a homer. The replay showed the ball actually hit a metal brace supporting the wall and not the padding on top of it.
"The way it bounced ... it had to hit something," Washington said.
Beltre wasn't sure after seeing the ball bounce back on the field. He waited at second base for the umpires to come back on the field, then finished rounding the bases once they signaled home run.
"We thought the ball hit the top of the wall and came back," Acta said. "In the replays we have here it looks kind of inconclusive. Talking to the umpire, he felt it hit some metal bar back there behind the padding."
Nathan, a New York Giants fan, paid off a bet with Dallas Cowboys fan and fellow reliever Mike Adams by donning the full Romo No. 9 uniform, including pads and football cleats, during batting practice. It was the Rangers' first home game since the Cowboys' season-opening 24-17 victory at the Giants last Wednesday.
Elvis Andrus had an RBI single in the sixth for Texas, but Cleveland scored twice in the eighth against three relievers. Both runs were charged to Adams, who was struck on the back of his right calf by a ball.
Harrison was pulled after Russ Canzler singled with two down and scored on Matt LaPorta 's double that bounced off the center-field wall, trimming the Rangers' lead to 5-2.
"With the four-run lead, I pitched to contact and not as aggressive," Harrison said. "I left a couple over the plate."
NOTES: Indians LF Thomas Neal was ruled out in the seventh for interference. He hit a dribbler down the first-base line fielded by reliever Alexi Ogando , who shot-putted the ball over the runner and into right field. But home plate umpire Ed Hickox immediately signaled that Neal was out of the running lane. ... Texas OF Nelson Cruz , in a 2-for-23 slide, got the night off. Cruz was 0 for 9 with seven strikeouts in his career against Jimenez, but Washington said the timing of the planned break was a coincidence. ... Rangers RHP Roy Oswalt , who left Sunday's start after two innings, has been diagnosed with a right forearm strain and won't throw for two to three days. He will be re-evaluated after that.