Indians end horrid month with 5-3 loss to Rangers

A record-setting month of futility is finally over for the Indians.

Friday night's 5-3 defeat to Texas gave Cleveland a 5-24 record in August — tying the franchise record for losses in a month that was previously done in July 1914.

"It's been the toughest month that I've had in baseball," manager Manny Acta said.

The Indians have lost six straight and 15 of 16, a stretch in which they have been outscored 94-44. Cleveland is 5-28 since July 26, a skid that continues to puzzle their manager, whose job falls further into jeopardy with each loss.

"You can lose a lot in a month, but we lost a lot in just a couple of periods of time — big losing streaks that we didn't have throughout the first four months here," Acta said.

Acta shook up Cleveland's lineup in an effort to manufacture some offense. He reinstated Shin-Soo Choo into the leadoff spot, dropping Jason Kipnis and Asdrubal Cabrera one spot each to second and third.

"You've got to die trying, man," Acta said before the game.

The fact 30 games still remain on the schedule probably isn't a good thing for Acta and his beleaguered team. September got off to a bad start before it began. Following Friday's game, the Indians announced pitcher Roberto Hernandez has been scratched from Saturday's start and will be replaced by Jeanmar Gomez. Hernandez sprained his ankle Monday and aggravated the injury during fielding drills Friday.

The latest loss was more of the same for the Indians. Ubaldo Jimenez (9-14) turned in another poor performance. He allowed four runs and eight hits in an exhausting 5 2-3 innings, throwing 117 pitches.

Adrian Beltre had four hits and scored twice as the Rangers rolled to their 10th win in 13 games. Ryan Dempster (4-1) gave up two hits and one unearned run in six innings. Joe Nathan got the final two outs for his 28th save in 29 chances and 26th in a row.

Texas has the best record in the AL, but outfielder Josh Hamilton thinks it would be a mistake to overlook the Indians.

"You have to stay focused and can't take a team like this for granted," he said. "Anybody can turn and get hot. They have nothing to lose."

Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz was ejected for slamming his bat on the plate in the seventh after his third strikeout.

Beltre had two doubles and two singles in five times up. His only out came on a diving catch by left fielder Jason Donald in the ninth. The third baseman has hit .472 (17 for 36) with 14 RBIs in his last nine games. In his last 68 games, Beltre has batted .334 with 15 homers and 45 RBIs.

The Indians are as frigid as Beltre has been torrid, dropping to 11-36 in the second half. Cleveland has hit just .194 with runners in scoring position over that time and their starting rotation's 6.47 ERA during that span is the worst in the majors.

Dempster was perfect before issuing a one-out walk to Jack Hannahan in the third. Carlos Santana broke up the no-hitter with an RBI single in the fourth, when shortstop Elvis Andrus made two errors.

Andrus went 1 for 5. He has hit safely in all 27 of his career games against Cleveland.

Jimenez made 31 pitches in the first inning, but escaped by allowing only one run, on Beltre's RBI single.

Two innings later, his pitch count at 78, Jimenez trailed 3-0 after Michael Young and David Murphy had consecutive RBI singles in the third. Ian Kinsler's two-out RBI single made it 4-1 in the sixth. Texas added a run in the seventh off Esmil Rogers.

Santana doubled and scored on Casey Kotchman's 12th homer, off Koji Uehara in the ninth.

Following the game, the Indians announced they have called up first baseman/outfielder Russ Canzler and pitcher Scott Barnes from Triple-A Columbus and outfielder Thomas Neal from Double-A Akron.

NOTES: Cleveland's 5-24 August ties the 1982 New York Mets and 1961 Washington Senators for the worst record in the month since 1944. ... Texas went 19-10 in August ... Texas is 23-6 against the Indians since the start of 2009, their best record against any AL opponent. ... Texas C Mike Napoli, out since Aug. 11 with a strained left quad, has begun running, but it's unclear when he will return. ... OF Shelley Duncan was sent outright to Triple-A Columbus. The Indians had designated him for assignment on Wednesday. ... Cruz went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position overall before his first career ejection, by plate umpire Bill Welke.