CLEVELAND – Ryan Dempster won his third consecutive start, the offense produced with two outs and the Texas Rangers went on to a 5-3 victory over the struggling Cleveland Indians on Friday night.
Dempster retired the first seven batters he faced before issuing a one-out walk to Jack Hannahan in the third. He issued another walk to start the fourth, and gave up his lone run that inning.
Indians outfielder Ezequiel Carrera grounded into a fielder’s choice, but ended up on second on an errant throw by Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, who tried to complete a double play. He went to third on Michael Brantley’s groundout, and then scored on a single by Carlos Santana.
Santana’s single was the first hit Dempster allowed. He gave up only one more hit, as he went six innings, allowing one unearned run with three walks and seven strikeouts. Dempster is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA over his last three starts after going 0-1 with an 8.31 ERA in his first three starts with the Rangers.
Dempster worked with a lead all night.
Ian Kinsler led off the game with an infield single, and scored on an RBI single by Adrian Beltre. The Rangers extended their lead to 3-0 with consecutive two-out run-scoring singles by Michael Young and David Murphy.
After Cleveland pulled to within 3-1, Texas cushioned its lead with single runs in the sixth and seventh. Kinsler had a two-out RBI double in the sixth, and Young had a two-out run-scoring single in the seventh.
Four of the Rangers’ five runs were driven in with two outs.
The Indians got back within striking distance in the ninth, though, when Casey Kotchman drilled a two-run home run to right off Rangers reliever Koji Uehara. But Uehara retired the next batter, and Joe Nathan got the final two outs of the game for his 28th save.
Finally, it's worth noting, that Nelson Cruz, mired in a 7-for-39 (.179) slump, was ejected for the first time in his career. He slammed his bat into the ground after striking out in the seventh, prompting a quick toss by home-plate umpire Bill Welke.
-- Drew Davison