ARLINGTON – Alexi Ogando pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning, then was almost unhittable from that point on as the Texas Rangers defeated the Cleveland Indians 7-4 Thursday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The Rangers improved their lead over the idle Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to 3 1/2 games by wrapping up a 5-1 homestand with a sweep of Cleveland.
Ogando walked Shelley Duncan to load the bases with one out in the second, but struck out Nos. 8-9 hitters Lonnie Chisenhall and Lou Marson. That started a stretch of 12 consecutive batters Ogando retired.
He pitched six innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four to improve to 13-8. Three Rangers relievers allowed a combined four runs after Ogando left with a 6-0 lead.
The Rangers gave Ogando a 1-0 lead when they scored an unearned run in the third. Endy Chavez walked, stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on Elvis Andrus’ one-out single.
They then blew the game open in the fifth with five runs off Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona (6-15). Michael Young scored the first three with a one-out double after Josh Hamilton had been intentionally walked to load the bases. Adrian Beltre followed with a two-run homer, his 25th of the season, for a 6-0 lead.
Hamilton also added a solo homer in the seventh.
-- David Thomas