Rangers 5, Indians 2
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Brian Jordan has feasted on fastballs throughout his 13-year major league career, and he wasn’t going to let a first-pitch heater get by him in a tie game.
With two outs and nobody on in a 2-2 game, Jordan hit the first pitch from C.C. Sabathia (9-7) over the center-field fence and gave the Rangers their first lead of the game.
“He threw me a good fastball, and I wasn’t late,” said Jordan, who went 2-for-3 to raise his average from .167 to .182. “It felt good. I’ve just got to keep competing when I get a chance to play.”
Jordan has been limited to 29 games due to knee problems, but still has the respect of his young teammates.
“I know fans look at the numbers, but B.J. is a huge part of this club,” Rangers shortstop Michael Young said. “He’s obviously still got it. He’s just trying to get his knee healthy.”
Said Rangers manager Buck Showalter: “There’s not a lot of people on the field who have a better pedigree than Brian Jordan.”
Sabathia had an 11.00 ERA in two previous starts against the Rangers this season, but was sharper this time, allowing five runs and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked five.
Erasmo Ramirez (4-3) pitched 1 2-3 innings of one-hit relief for the win. Ramirez, Brian Shouse, Frank Francisco and Francisco Cordero combined for 4 2-3 innings of scoreless one-hit relief. Cordero got three outs for his 36th save in 38 chances.
“It’s easy to be spoiled by those guys,” Young said. “Our bullpen has been our collective MVP.”
Victor Martinez hit his 20th homer for the Indians, who’ve lost six of seven to the Rangers this season.
Cleveland fell 2 1/2 games behind idle Minnesota in the AL Central.
“Those guys have played us tough all year,” Indians manager Eric Wedge said of the Rangers. “We have two games left against them to turn it around. They’re a good team with a lot of pop in their lineup.”
Texas remains a half-game behind first-place Oakland in the AL West. The Athletics beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Monday night.
Rangers right-hander Mickey Callaway was activated from the disabled list for the start. He left a 2-2 game after 4 1-3 innings and 85 pitches, allowing two runs and five hits.
Callaway had been out since April 14 because of a right ulnar nerve injury. He appeared in two games for the Rangers in April, going 0-1 with a 23.14 ERA.
The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the first when Matt Lawton led off with a single and Martinez hit a two-out homer.
In the third, Texas loaded the bases with nobody out on two singles and a walk. Gary Matthews Jr. scored from third on Young’s high hopper to third that glanced off Casey Blake’s glove for an error. But Sabathia struck out Alfonso Soriano, then got Mark Teixeira to ground into a double play to keep the score at 2-1.
Hank Blalock’s sacrifice fly in the fourth tied it at 2.
Texas loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, and Sabathia walked Teixeira, the final batter he faced, on a pitch close to the outside corner to force in a run. Sabathia showed his frustration after the pitch was called a ball, but said he was simply angry with himself, not at plate umpire Brian Runge.
“I think I’ll apologize to the umpire,” Sabathia said. “I knew it was a ball. I was just mad at myself.”
Sabathia said walks proved his undoing.
“I stopped counting after four walks,” Sabathia said. “As many walks as I gave up, I was surprised it took them until the seventh inning to break out on me.”
Both starters were called for balks in the fourth inning. … The Indians had won six of their previous seven. … Sabathia fell to 5-2 for his career against Texas. … Jordan has two homers in his last six games, and three overall.