Rangers 8, Indians 5

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Einar Diaz put last season’s struggles with the Cleveland Indians behind him, and he’s enjoying helping the Texas Rangers win this year.

Diaz hit a three-run homer against his former team, and Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro added solo shots as the Rangers won their fifth consecutive game, 8-5 on Sunday.

Diaz’s fourth homer of the season broke a 4-4 tie in the third inning and sent Cleveland to its fourth straight loss and 13th in 17 games. Diaz was acquired by the Rangers from the Indians in a trade in December.

“It’s a different year,” said Diaz, who hit .206 last year in 102 games with the Indians. “I’m just trying to have some fun and help us win ballgames.”

Rodriguez and Palmeiro hit back-to-back solo shots with two outs in the first. Rodriguez, who has 28 homers, has homered in four consecutive games and Palmeiro has homered in three straight.

Palmeiro and Rodriguez were both 3-for-5.

Texas starter R.A. Dickey (5-5) overcame Cleveland’s three-run first inning to pick up his first career victory as a starter. Dickey, making his fourth career start, allowed four runs and seven hits in a career-high seven innings.

Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

“It was definitely a special night,” Dickey said. “I feel like I didn’t have my best stuff. Our offense and defense really picked me up.”

The Rangers, who have won seven of eight, homered 13 times in sweeping the three-game set with the Indians. Texas scored 27 runs in the series and has scored 44 in its last four games against Cleveland.

Ryan Ludwick and Casey Blake homered for the Indians.

Marcus Thames started the Rangers’ rally in the third with a two-out single. Ramon Nivar then reached on catcher Tim Laker’s fielding error before Diaz’s homer off Cleveland starter Brian Anderson put Texas ahead 7-4.

“Diaz is quietly hitting .270 for us,” Texas manager Buck Showalter said. “The guy is one of the toughest catchers I’ve ever had. He’s been a rock for us.”

Led by Diaz, Texas’ 7-8-9 hitters went 4-of-11 with six runs scored and four RBIs.

“It’s always good when the bottom of the lineup can hit the ball,” Palmeiro said. “If we can get on base and they can drive us in, that makes us that much better.”

Anderson (8-9) didn’t get much help from his defense as the Indians committed three errors. The left-hander allowed seven runs—only two of which were earned—and nine hits in three innings. Jason Boyd relieved Anderson to start the fourth.

But Anderson wasn’t ready to place any blame on the defense behind him Sunday.

“I stunk up the joint,” Anderson said. “My job is to come out and give us a lift after the past two games. I didn’t make quality pitches and they did what they are supposed to do. I laid a big egg.”

Nivar’s RBI triple in the seventh put the Rangers ahead 8-4. It was his first major league hit in 12 at-bats.

Blake led off the eighth with his 12th homer off reliever Rosman Garcia.

In the first, the Indians jumped out to a 3-0 lead on Milton Bradley’s two-run triple and Ludwick’s RBI groundout.

Rodriguez and Palmeiro made it 3-2 in the bottom of the first, and Michael Young and Rodriguez had RBI singles in the second. Both second-inning runs were unearned after shortstop Jhonny Peralta’s error.

“We had a couple of big errors that they capitalized on,” Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. “You don’t want to give these guys extra chances with the lineup they have.”

Cleveland tied it at 4 in the third on Ludwick’s third home run of the season.

Notes

Dickey (36) and Anderson (37) combined to throw 73 pitches in the first inning. … Palmeiro has 27 home runs this season and 517 for his career. He has homered in five of his last seven games. … Anderson has pitched at leastfive innings in 18 of his 21 starts.

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