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09/08/09 9:15 PM ET
Offense clutch but not enough in loss
Indians battle back, but Rangers batter bullpen
By Anthony Castrovince / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Carlos Carrasco struggled again Tuesday night. At least he could take solace in the fact that he wasn't the only one. The Indians and Rangers, rained out Monday night, made up for lost time on the offensive end in the opener of a twi-night doubleheader Tuesday. Carrasco got battered, Chris Perez saw his scoreless-innings streak come to a close and Jess Todd was also rough in relief as the Tribe fell, 11-9, in front of a sparse crowd at Progressive Field. Only a few hundred folks were in attendance for the game's first pitch. It was a library-like atmosphere, but the Tribe and Rangers did their best to spoil the silence through the thwack of the lumber. Carrasco improved on his inauspicious first Major League outing last week in Detroit, but not by much. He went five innings in which he allowed five runs on eight hits with three walks and four strikeouts. "I need to trust my fastball," Carrasco said. "And I have to throw more inside." The trouble with Carrasco, who was one of four players acquired in the July 29 trade that sent Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco to the Phillies, is that his fastball has had a tendency to flatten out in his two starts in the Majors. That was the case when he hung one to David Murphy in the second inning, and the designated hitter pounded it out to right for a solo shot. It happened again in the third, and this time it was Julio Borbon smacking a solo homer. In the fourth, the Rangers extended their lead when Carrasco dropped a potential double-play relay throw from shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera. Murphy was safe on the fielder's choice, and Ian Kinsler, who had doubled, scored from third. Ivan Rodriguez then followed with an RBI double to make it 4-0. The Indians got on the board against Tommy Hunter in the fourth, when Jhonny Peralta doubled and later came in to score on a Luis Valbuena sacrifice fly. And after the Rangers added an insurance run in the fifth with Elvis Andrus' RBI double, the Tribe stayed in the game thanks to Cabrera's two-run double that scored Andy Marte and Lou Marson, appearing in his first Major League game, to make it 5-3. In the sixth, the Tribe completed its comeback from the 5-1 deficit with two-out heroics from two of their newest bodies. With two on and two out, Marson drew a walk off reliever Neftali Feliz to load the bases and keep the inning going, and Michael Brantley, who has a hit in all seven of his big league games, hit a soft double to right to bring both runners home. It was 5-5, but not for long. Jensen Lewis, who had relieved Carrasco with a scoreless sixth, came out for the seventh and walked Andrus with one out. Manager Eric Wedge opted to bring in the hotter hand in Perez, who came in with a 22-2/3-innings scoreless streak -- the longest by a Tribe reliever since Paul Assenmacher tossed 23 1/3 straight scoreless in 1997. But Perez got rattled when Andrus swiped second and third, and he walked Kinsler. Marlon Byrd then punched a three-run homer into the left-field bleachers to give the Rangers the lead for good. "He's a guy we want in there at that point in time," Wedge said of Perez. "He just didn't have it today." Perez wasn't the only one who had a long scoreless-innings streak snapped. In the seventh, Travis Hafner hit a solo shot off Feliz to end the right-hander's 20 1/3-innings streak. And in the eighth, Shin-Soo Choo ripped an RBI single off C.J. Wilson to make it 8-7. It was just that type of ballgame. No lead was particularly safe. "There was a lot of offense out there," Wedge said. "Neither team could hold the other down. Every time we crept back in it, they tagged on." That was the case in the ninth, when Todd gave up a solo homer to Borbon, then let the Rangers load the bases with two out to set up Rodriguez's two-run ground-rule double. At that point, it was 11-8, and Matt LaPorta's two-run blast off Frank Francisco in the bottom of the ninth was not enough to save the Tribe.
Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.