The last-place Rangers have won five of six, after taking two of three from visiting Boston with Thursday’s 7-3, 11-inning victory.
Rodriguez hit a grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning to cap Thursday’s win, one day after the All-Star shortstop hinted he might be willing to accept a trade from the Rangers.
“It’s been a crazy few days,” said Rodriguez, who signed a record-setting 10-year, $252 million contract with Texas before the 2001 season. “It was a good way to end it and to put an end to this nonsense.”
Rodriguez, who now leads Texas with 25 homers this season, is batting .417 (20-for-48) in his last 12 games with three homers and eight RBIs.
After taking two of three from Minnesota last weekend, the Indians dropped two of three at Oakland, capped by Thursday’s 3-1 loss.
It was the 12th loss in the last 15 games for Cleveland, which scored more than two runs just once in the series against the A’s—a 4-2 win Wednesday.
Milton Bradley drove in the lone run for the Indians Thursday, and is batting .423 (11-for-26) over his last seven games.
STANDINGS: Indians - 4th place, 13 GB, AL Central. Rangers - 4th place, 21 GB, AL West.
INDIANS PROBABLE STARTER: Billy Traber (5-5, 4.14 ERA). Traber is 2-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his last three starts, including a 4-0 victory at Yankee Stadium on July 8, when he pitched a one-hitter for his first complete game. The rookie left-hander didn’t get a decision in his next start, before going on to post a 9-2 home win over Minnesota on Saturday. He limited the Twins to an earned run and six hits while striking out six over six innings. Traberis making his first start against Texas. In two relief appearances against the Rangers, he is 0-0 with a 3.18 ERA.
RANGERS PROBABLE STARTER: John Thomson (8-10, 5.45 ERA). Thomson is 3-1 with a 3.94 ERA in his last six starts. The right-hander comes in off a 7-3 win at Seattle on Sunday. He went eight innings, giving up three earned runs and eight hits. Thomson matched his career-high with five walks, but struck out a season high-tying seven. He is 0-3 with an 8.22 ERA in three career starts against Cleveland. Two of those losses came this season, compiling an 8.71 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Indians - Bradley, .327 avg., 51 RBIs, 57 runs and 16 SBs; Matt Lawton, 15 HRs. Rangers - Michael Young, .317 avg.; Rodriguez, 25 HRs, 77 runs and 11 SBs; Juan Gonzalez and Rafael Palmeiro, 70 RBIs.
SEASON SERIES: Indians, 4-2.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Indians - Opponents are batting .319 against LHP Traber on the road this season, where he is 0-4 with a 6.43 ERA. … CF Bradley leads the AL in on-base-percentage (.434). … OF Coco Crisp is batting .400 (24-for-60) during a 13-game hitting streak. Rangers - SS Rodriguez has 10 career grand slams, including two with the Rangers. … RF Shane Spencer, acquired in a trade with Cleveland on July 18, had three RBIs Thursday. He is batting .333 (7-for-21) during a five-game hitting streak with a homer and 11 RBIs. … Texas starting pitchers have a 2.45 ERA in the last five games.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Indians - 20-36 on the road; Rangers - 26-29 at home.
INJURIES: Indians - INF Ricky Gutierrez (back), 15-day DL; SS Omar Vizquel (knee), 15-day DL; OF Lawton (finger), 15-day DL; OF Ellis Burks (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Jason Bere (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Dave Elder (shoulder), 60-day DL; RHP Bob Wickman (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Mark Wohlers (elbow), 60-day DL. Rangers - OF Juan Gonzalez (calf), 15-day DL; OF Kevin Mench (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Park (oblique), 15-day DL; RHP Ricardo Rodriguez (hip), 15-day DL; RHP Ismael Valdes (knee), 15-day DL; RHP Jeff Zimmerman (elbow), 60-day DL; INF Herbert Perry (shoulder), 60-day DL; OF Rusty Greer (neck), 60-day DL.