(SportsNetwork.com) - With a nine-game road trip just around the corner, the Texas Rangers try to close out their current homestand on a positive note as they meet up with the Cleveland Indians on Sunday afternoon.
Already nine games out of contention in the American League West, Texas has lost three in a row and six of the last 10 in order to drop to fourth place in the standings.
On Saturday the Rangers appeared poised to get back into the win column, ahead by a score of 8-7 entering the ninth inning, but allowed three runs in the top of the frame to suffer the 10-8 setback to the Indians.
The big blow was a two-run home run by Jason Kipnis.
"The home run hurts," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "That's probably the thing that is concerning the most. The string of home runs late, out of the bullpen. We gotta find a way to keep the ball in the ballpark. Whether it's to mix the rotation out of the bullpen, mix the pitches, these guys are going to continue to battle, and we're going to continue to give them the ball."
Kipnis, who has raised his average to .340, had three hits in the meeting, matching Lonnie Chisenhall. David Murphy, Brandon Moss and Michael Bourn all had a pair of hits, the latter knocking in a pair of runs, while Jose Ramirez scored three times.
Danny Salazar started on the hill for the Tribe, but he was rocked for seven runs -- five earned -- on nine hits and a walk over just 4 2/3 innings. The team used five hurlers out of the pen, with Cody Allen being the last man standing and getting the save and Scott Atchison being credited with the victory, his first of the season.
The hard-luck loser was Neftali Feliz, who was charged with three runs on two hits in just one inning of action, while dropping his second decision and blowing his third save opportunity. Texas starter Colby Lewis fanned seven in five innings, but at the same time surrendered five earned runs on seven hits and three walks.
Shin-Soo Choo had three hits for Texas, coming up a double shy of the cycle. Robinson Chirinos and Thomas Field also had home runs, the former coming away with a total of three hits.
Supplying some excitement on the bases was Elvis Andrus who, after being hit with the throw while attempting to steal second, raced all the way around to score on a close play at the plate.
Nick Martinez tries to keep his record unblemished when he heads to the hill for the Rangers today. The right-hander won his first two outings of the season versus Oakland and Los Angeles last month but since then has been unable to register a victory, even with Texas winning four of those five decisions.
The one loss by the club came on Tuesday when he allowed four runs -- three earned -- on six hits over 6 1/3 innings. The three runs matched the most in any one game by Martinez, as his ERA jumped from 1.47 to 1.88.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who has spent his entire six-year major league career in Cleveland, will battle against the Texas bats. Already 3-1 on the road, Carrasco is hoping to bounce back from a rough outing against St. Louis earlier in the week.
Versus the Cardinals, Carrasco was hammered for 10 hits, leading to four runs, but for the first time in four games he did not walk a batter and managed to strike out seven during his 6 2/3 innings.
This will be the fifth all-time appearance for Carrasco against the Rangers, a team which has recorded 19 hits and 12 earned runs in 13.0 innings, resulting in a lopsided 8.31 ERA.