Published September 11, 2012
ARLINGTON, Texas – Adrian Beltre homered, Matt Harrison worked into the sixth inning for his 16th victory and the AL West-leading Texas Rangers beat the Cleveland Indians 6-4 on Tuesday night.
Harrison (16-9) struck out six over 5 2-3 innings while becoming the fourth American League pitcher to reach 16 wins. The left-hander allowed five hits and walked three, all the baserunners coming in his last 2 2-3 innings.
Texas scored four times in the second, which started with Beltre reaching on an error that led to three unearned runs. One of those runs scored on the 16th wild pitch by Ubaldo Jimenez (9-16), who has the most losses and wild pitches in the majors.
Joe Nathan, who began the day in a Tony Romo uniform, worked a perfect ninth for his 32nd save. The right-hander has converted a career-high 30 chances in a row, a Rangers record.
Beltre led off the fifth with a ball that ricocheted high off the top of the left-field wall and was initially ruled a double. Umpires reviewed the play and changed the call to Beltre's 31st homer. The replay showed the ball actually hit a metal brace supporting the wall and not the padding on top of it.
The Rangers opened their six-game homestand with a three-game advantage over Oakland, matching their smallest division lead since the All-Star break. The A's played late Tuesday night at the Los Angeles Angels.
With general manager Chris Antonetti on hand for the final series of their 10-game trip, the Indians played pretty much the same way they have for nearly four months.
Jimenez is 1-9 in 12 starts since the All-Star break, a span in which the Indians are 15-42. Since being the AL Central leader by four games on May 17, Cleveland is 37-67 and its overall record of 59-83 is the AL's worst.
Jimenez struck out four and walked four while allowing five runs (only two earned) and four hits over five innings.
Harrison didn't allow a runner until consecutive walks to Shin-Soo Choo and Jason Kipnis starting the fourth. He got out of that jam with a double-play grounder and a strikeout.
Brent Lillibridge drew a one-out walk in the fifth before Jason Donald singled for Cleveland's first hit, and Lillibridge scored on Ezequiel Carrera's RBI single.
Harrison was pulled after Russ Canzler singled with two down and scored on Matt LaPorta's double that bounced off the center-field wall, trimming the Rangers' lead to 5-2.
Elvis Andrus had an RBI single in the sixth for Texas, but Cleveland scored twice in the eighth against three relievers. Both runs were charged to Mike Adams, who was struck on the back of his right calf by a ball.
Nathan, a New York Giants fan, paid off a bet with Dallas Cowboys fan Adams by donning a full Romo uniform, including pads over the quarterback's No. 9 jersey and football cleats, during batting practice. It was the Rangers' first home game since the Cowboys' season-opening 24-17 victory at the Giants last Wednesday.
NOTES: Indians LF Thomas Neal was ruled out in the seventh for interference. He hit a dribbler down the first-base line fielded by reliever Alexi Ogando, who shot-putted the ball over the runner and into right field. But home plate umpire Ed Hickox immediately signaled that Neal was out of the running lane. ... Texas OF Nelson Cruz, in a 2-for-23 slide, got the night off. Cruz was 0 for 9 with seven strikeouts in his career against Jimenez, but manager Ron Washington said the timing of the planned break was a coincidence. ... Rangers RHP Roy Oswalt, who left Sunday's start after two innings, has been diagnosed with a right forearm strain and won't throw for two to three days. He will be re-evaluated after that.