CLEVELAND -- Rangers manager Ron Washington described Scott Feldman as throwing the ball "extremely well" on Saturday night. Infielder Michael Young echoed that sentiment, saying, "for us that was a great start."That's still not much consolation for a pitcher who now has a five-game losing streak after a 4-3 loss to the Indians at Progressive Field. "It's tough... this game will check your mental toughness all the time," Feldman said. "You just have to keep grinding and get through it." Feldman did retire 18 of the last 20 batters he faced, allowing just two harmless groundball singles. What cost Feldman was allowing the first five batters of the night to reach base. That led to four runs in the first inning and the Rangers could not quite catch up against Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez and three relievers. "A nightmare first inning," Feldman said. "They were hitting everything I threw up there. I just dug us in too deep of a hole." Washington didn't think so at the time. "I wasn't concerned," Washington said. "I figured we could get back into it. I figured we'd put up a crooked number on the scoreboard but we never did. We could only put one run up at a time." That wasn't good enough and the Indians won for only the second time in their last 17 games. "This is the big leagues," Young said. "Everybody is capable of winning ballgames. If you have a big league jersey on, I respect the fact that you can play the game. They executed tonight." Feldman is now 0-5 with a 6.35 ERA in his last five starts, a losing streak that began when the Rangers announced that he was no longer just a spot starter but a permanent member of the rotation. At this point, the Rangers have given no indication that they are revisiting that decision. "I hate to keep saying I'm throwing the ball well... hopefully I can get on a hot streak," Feldman said. Feldman started the first inning by walking Shin-Soo Choo. That was the one that Feldman regretted the most. "You never want to walk anybody but leadoff walks aren't really good," Feldman said. Jason Kipnis followed with a line drive directly over right fielder Nelson Cruz, who broke late going back on the ball. Kipnis ended up with a double, putting runners on second and third. Carlos Santana brought them both home with a single to left, and Michael Brantley and Russ Canzler also singled to left to load the bases with nobody out. Feldman then started getting outs while Roy Oswalt began warming up in the bullpen. Casey Kotchman grounded out weakly to first and that brought home one run. Jack Hannahan then grounded out to second baseman Ian Kinsler, driving home another run that made it 4-0. "I wish I could have spread those hits over six innings but I can't," Feldman said. "They were just really aggressive swinging the bat that inning." The four hits that inning were one more than the Indians got the rest of the night. They didn't score again but they didn't need to. The Rangers, after Gomez struck out four of the first six batters he faced, picked up their first run when David Murphy led off the third with a home run. He also drew a walk to lead off the fifth. Murphy went from first to third on a hit-and-run play when Geovany Soto hit a high chopper off the plate and scored on Mitch Moreland's sacrifice fly. Adrian Beltre's 26th home run with two out in the sixth cut the Indians' lead to 4-3 but that was it for Gomez. Indians manager Manny Acta turned it over to the bullpen and the combination of Joe Smith, Esmil Rogers and Vinnie Pestano shut down the Rangers over the final 3 1/3 innings. "We put ourselves in good position, we just couldn't finish it," Murphy said. Pestano earned the save because Indians closer Chris Perez was unavailable while his wife was giving birth on Saturday. It was Pestano's first save of the season as the Rangers had runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth when Cruz flied out to center to end the game. "Our bullpen was terrific to stop those guys, just up by one run in the sixth inning," Acta said. "At any moment, they can turn the score around on you."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.