CLEVELAND (AP)—It was easy to see why Texas manager Ron Washington was in a good mood Friday night.
The Rangers’ 11-2 win over the Cleveland Indians was a team effort from top to bottom.
Alexi Ogando(notes) won his sixth game without a loss and Josh Hamilton(notes) and Nelson Cruz(notes) homered in a five-run seventh inning, sparking the Rangers to their ninth win in 12 games. The defending AL champions, who pounded out 19 hits, are 14-8 since May 10.
“I like what Ogando did,” Washington said. “I like what our offense did. We had balance throughout the lineup and we made all the defensive plays.”
The victory continued the Rangers’ dominance of the Indians over the last three seasons. Texas has beaten Cleveland 14 times in the last 17 games between the teams and has won nine of 10 at Progressive Field, including the first two games of this series.
“It’s one of those baseball things,” Washington said. “The past couple of years they’ve been young. Now those kids are becoming stars. The past two nights we’ve played some good baseball. I just hope we can continue it because at any moment they can rise up.”
The Indians have the best record in the American League, but are 13-14 since May 3 and have lost four straight at home. Despite the fact his team has lost seven of 10, Indians manager Manny Acta isn’t ready to panic.
“I feel good,” he said. “We’re going through a rough spot like everybody else. I’m very thankful we still haven’t gone through one of those long stretches like everyone else, and we want to keep it that way.”
Ogando (6-0) held the Indians to one run and four hits in eight innings. He has allowed two runs or fewer in nine of his 11 starts while pitching at least six innings in each outing. Washington gave his endorsement for the right-hander to be in next month’s All-Star game. Considering Washington will manage the American League team, one has to like Ogando’s chances.
“To be there would be a dream,” said Ogando. “It makes me feel good for my manager to say that.”
Texas took a 2-1 lead into the seventh before putting the game away with home runs off reliever Tony Sipp(notes). Hamilton hit a three-run drive on an 0-2 pitch. After Adrian Beltre’s(notes) flyball fell between outfielders Michael Brantley(notes) and Shin-Soo Choo(notes) for a double, Cruz homered on Sipp’s next pitch.
The Rangers have managed to stay in first place in the AL West despite the fact Hamilton and Cruz have both missed time with injuries. Texas is 17-5 in games that both have played.
“I don’t know if it takes pressure off guys,” said Hamilton, the AL MVP. “It seems to flow a little better.”
Cleveland’s best chance against Ogando came in the sixth when singles by Brantley and Asdrubal Cabrera(notes) put runners at first and third to start the inning. Ogando then got Choo to hit into a double play, with Brantley scoring, and struck out Carlos Santana(notes) to end the inning.
Cabrera hit a solo home run in the ninth.
Masterson retired the first batter in the seventh, but was removed after Ian Kinsler(notes) walked and Andrus singled. Sipp was called on to face Hamilton, who was batting .179 against left-handers, but that strategy failed. Hamilton’s line drive cleared the wall in right near the Rangers’ bullpen.
“He missed his spot,” Hamilton said. “He was trying to go away with his fastball. He got it up and in.”
Following Beltre’s gift double, Cruz drove his home run deep into the seats in right-center.
NOTES: OF Julio Borbon(notes) was activated from the disabled list and optioned to Triple-A Round Rock. He had been out since mid-May with a strained hamstring. … The Rangers’ 7-4 victory on Thursday was the first time they have rallied from a three-run deficit to win a game this season. … RHP Alex White(notes) (sore middle finger) has been sent to extended spring training to begin a rehab program. He’s expected to miss about 10 more weeks. … 1B Nick Johnson(notes), signed by the Indians to a minor league contract in February, has been activated from extended spring training and joined Double-A Akron. Johnson had wrist surgery last season.