Rangers 8, Indians 5
CLEVELAND (AP)—Kenny Rogers has the most wins in baseball, and he’s hurting.
Pitching with a badly pulled right hamstring, Rogers became the first 12-game winner in the major leagues, and the Texas Rangers roughed up All-Star C.C. Sabathia in an 8-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.
Rogers (12-2) fought off pain with each delivery after injuring himself while shagging fly balls in the outfield two days earlier. The left-hander said his 19th start of the season was a struggle from start to finish.
“It made it hard to throw a pitch,” Rogers said. “I really didn’t have a clue of where the ball was going. Not even close. I was lucky to make it through five (innings).”
Other than dealing with his injury, Rogers didn’t encounter much trouble until the sixth, when the Indians closed to 8-5. Before that, the 39-year-old was in control, using his usual assortment of offspeed pitches to confound Cleveland’s hitters.
“Rogers is an All-Star, when he makes his pitches, he’s tough,” Indians outfielder Coco Crisp said.
Rogers allowed five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings, and set a career high by winning his eighth straight decision. He has not lost since May 9. But Rogers wasn’t sure what he had when he took the mound.
“I couldn’t even land on it,” he said of his tender hamstring. “I’m just glad they didn’t bunt on me. I was limited. Hopefully, in five days it will be better.”
If it’s not, Rogers said he would consider skipping next week’s All-Star game in Houston.
“I’m not going to go do something that’s going to hinder me in the second half of the season,” Rogers said.
The left-hander never considered missing the start. In 16 seasons, he has only been on the disabled list once.
“He’s a rock for us,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.
While Rogers kept rolling, the troubles continued for Sabathia (5-4), who came in with the AL’s lowest ERA. However, he was noticeably rusty in his first start since June 26, giving up six runs and eight hits in three innings.
Sabathia missed his last outing because of a sore left shoulder that worried the Indians enough that they sent him to see Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
The exam went well and Sabathia, who was named an All-Star for the second time on Sunday, only had to skip one start.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t avoid facing the free-swinging Rangers, one of the AL’s best hitting teams. Texas scored three runs off Cleveland’s ace in the first and three in the third to chase him.
“Everything I was throwing was belt high,” said Sabathia, who dropped to 5-1 against Texas. “I had six or seven guys 0-1 and 1-2, and then threw balls down the middle.”
Sabathia joked that he’s glad the All-Star selections have already been made. He was voted onto the team by AL players.
“I just hope they don’t take it away from me,” he said. “I hope they didn’t see what I did tonight.”
Following a leadoff single by Michael Young in the third, Soriano connected for his 15th homer, a shot over the wall in left that made it 5-2.
An RBI single by Gary Matthews Jr. put Texas up 6-2, and it could have been worse for Sabathia, who got two outs in the inning on fly balls to the warning track.
Sabathia’s three-inning stint was his shortest non-injury outing of 2004.
“We were fortunate to catch him on a day when he wasn’t at his best,”Showalter said.
Texas utilityman Herbert Perry was scratched before the game with a sore right calf, and may have to go on the disabled list. “We may bring someone in tomorrow,” Showalter said. Among the candidates to come up is INF Manny Alexander. … Soriano’s homer tied Julio Franco’s club record (1991) for the most by a second baseman. Texas has had a player hit 30 homers at every position except second. … Hall of Famer Bob Feller may not have his old fastball, but his command is still there. The 85-year-old threw out the ceremonial first pitch, lobbing a perfect strike to shortstop Omar Vizquel, who didn’t have to move his glove to catch it. … The Indians are 39-42 at the official halfway point. They were 34-47 a year ago. … Vizquel scored twice, moving him into sixth place on the club’s career runs list, ahead of Hall ofFamer Nap Lajoie (865).