for this game

Rangers ride big first inning to win over Indians

Jul 22, 2007 - 5:27 AM ARLINGTON, Texas (Ticker) - After two consecutive ninth-inning rallies fell just short, the Texas Rangers used a different tactic Saturday night to snap a three-game losing streak: a big first inning.

Texas scored five runs in the first inning and Marlon Byrd had five RBI to lead the Rangers to an 8-5 victory over the Cleveland Indians.

It was Texas' first win over the Indians in five meetings this season and seven overall dating to last year. Cleveland had won the two previous nights, 7-5 and 3-2, each time securing the final out in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded.

"It's big to get a win period, especially when it was right there last night and a base hit could have made a difference," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We've been playing good baseball. We've been right there."

The Indians' loss, coupled with Detroit's victory over Kansas City, leaves the Tribe two games back in the hotly contested American League Central Division.

The Rangers jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning off Cleveland starter Cliff Lee (5-7) and never looked back. Ramon Vazquez and Michael Young each singled and Mark Teixeira doubled to drive in Vazquez for the game's first run.

After Sammy Sosa struck out, Byrd doubled into center field to score Young and Teixeira, and Brad Wilkerson followed with another RBI single. Gerald Laird then launched a blast high off the wall in left field for another double that brought Wilkerson home.

It was the second time this season that Texas scored as many as five runs in the first inning.

"They were hitting everything (in the first)," Indians catcher Victor Martinez said. "After that, (Lee) was able to make his off-speed pitches when he fell behind in the count. He just had a really tough first inning, but he was able to battle to keep us in the game."

Lee settled down after that, retiring 13 of the next 14 Rangers and allowing only two more hits, but the damage already inflicted was enough to send the lefthander to his third straight loss. He was pulled with two outs in the seventh after Young singled and Teixeira walked.

He was charged with seven runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings while walking one and striking out five.

"He was up a little in the first inning, but after that, he was down in the zone and was more aggressive," Cleveland manager Eric Wedge said. "It isn't often that your starter struggles like that in the first and then gets you to the seventh. Cliff was disappointed with that first inning, but maybe something clicked inside him after that. The way he pitched the last six was the guy we've been looking for."

Tom Mastny came in and walked pinch hitter Adam Melhuse to load the bases before Byrd drilled a line drive into the gap in left-center for a three-run triple.

"We finally put some runs on the board and put it out of reach," Washington said. "That at-bat that Melhuse gave us was the key right there, got Marlon up there. Mel did a good job of working him to get on the bag, got Marlon up there and Marlon got the blow. It definitely gave us some breathing room."

The five RBI for Byrd, who snapped a 1-for-12 slump, matched his career high, set in August 2004 with Philadelphia.

"The big difference tonight was that the pitches that I got to hit, I actually put them in play, got good wood on them," Byrd said. "In the past couple of games, I fouled them off. It's just getting the right pitch and not missing."

"Tonight he came up big," Washington said. "The double in the first and then that triple was huge. When pitchers make mistakes, he hasn't been missing."

The Indians got back into the game with a big fourth, scoring three runs off Texas starter Jamey Wright without the benefit of a hit. With one out, Jhonny Peralta's grounder got past rookie third baseman Travis Metcalf for an error. Wright walked the next three batters to force in a run.

After Wright hit Josh Barfield on the hand to force in another run, he was replaced by Ron Mahay. Grady Sizemore barely beat out what would have been an inning-ending double play to bring home one more run.

Wright lasted 3 1/3 innings, his shortest outing since he went 2 2/3 in his first start of the season on April 10. He gave up three runs - just one earned - and just one hit, but only 38 of his 82 pitches were strikes as he walked six and hit a batter.

"It seemed like everything I did to try to correct it made it worse," Wright said. "I just didn't have it from the first pitch on. Just battling out there trying to throw the ball right down the middle and couldn't do it.

"Pretty embarrassing. I'm just trying to figure it out. It's definitely a little easier to stomach since we won the game. If we lost that game, it would have been tough."

Mahay (2-0) threw 2 2/3 innings in relief for the victory, despite surrendering a seventh-inning home run to Sizemore that brought the Indians within 5-4.

"I never thought we were out of it," Wedge said. "Our guys are going to keep battling and give us every opportunity to come back."

Joaquin Benoit tossed two scoreless frames before handing the ball to Eric Gagne, who allowed a run in the non-save situation.

"It was a good win," said Teixeira, who scored two runs. "A team effort, the bullpen was great, coming in and holding the lead. And then Marlon's triple to kind of make sure we had a little cushion going into the ninth, was nice."

Rangers designated hitter Sosa left the game in the third inning after Lee hit him in the head with a pitch. The ball appeared to skim off Sosa's shoulder before catching him flush on the left side of his head.

After spending about two minutes down on one knee, Sosa walked off under his own power and did not return.

The club announced that he was taken out of the game for "precautionary reasons" and was examined by their team doctor. He is listed as day-to-day.

"He's fine," Washington said. "He checked out good, he was moving around in the clubhouse. We'll just wait and see how he feels tomorrow."








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    CLEVELAND 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 1 5 5 1
    TEXAS 5 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 x 8 9 1 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: CLE - CLIFF LEE, TOM MASTNY (7TH) AND VICTOR MARTINEZ
    TEX - JAMEY WRIGHT, RON MAHAY (4TH), JOAQUIN BENOIT
    (7TH), ERIC GAGNE (9TH) AND GERALD LAIRD

    HOME RUNS: CLE

    Jul 21 11:52 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY VICTOR MARTINEZ SCORED JOSH BARFIELD.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, T NIXON ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 5
    TEXAS 8 TOP, 9TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: T HAFNER (.267, 0-FOR-3, BB)

    Indians vs. RangersJul 21 11:50 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    TRIPLE BY MARLON BYRD SCORED MICHAEL YOUNG, MARK TEIXEIRA
    AND ADAM MELHUSE.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, M BYRD ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 4
    TEXAS 8 BOTTOM, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: B WILKERSON (.223, 1-FOR-3, RBI)

    Indians vs. RangersJul 21 11:19 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY GRADY SIZEMORE (17) TO RIGHT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF RON MAHAY.
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 4, TEXAS 5
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: F GUTIERREZ (.315, 1-FOR-3)

    Indians vs. RangersJul 21 10:46 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    FIELDER'S CHOICE BY GRADY SIZEMORE SCORED BEN FRANCISCO.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, G SIZEMORE ON FIRST, M ROUSE ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 3
    TEXAS 5 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: F GUTIERREZ (.319, 1-FOR-2)

    Indians vs. RangersJul 21 10:03 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    JOSH BARFIELD HIT BY JAMEY WRIGHT PITCH WITH BASES LOADED
    SCORED RYAN GARKO.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J BARFIELD ON FIRST, M ROUSE ON SECOND, B
    FRANCISCO ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 2
    TEXAS 5 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: G SIZEMORE (.275, 0-FOR-1, BB)

    Indians vs. RangersJul 21 9:59 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    BASES LOADED WALK TO MIKE ROUSE SCORED JHONNY PERALTA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M ROUSE ON FIRST, B FRANCISCO ON SECOND, R
    GARKO ON THIRD, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 1
    TEXAS 5 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR CLEVELAND: J BARFIELD (.251, 0-FOR-1)

    Indians vs. RangersJul 21 9:57 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY GERALD LAIRD SCORED BRAD WILKERSON.
    SITUATION: 5 RUNS IN, G LAIRD ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 0
    TEXAS 5 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: J HAIRSTON JR (.205, 3 HR, 13 RBI)

    Indians vs. RangersJul 21 9:07 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY BRAD WILKERSON SCORED MARLON BYRD.
    SITUATION: 4 RUNS IN, B WILKERSON ON FIRST, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 0
    TEXAS 4 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: G LAIRD (.232, 6 HR, 31 RBI)

    Indians vs. RangersJul 21 9:04 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MARLON BYRD SCORED MICHAEL YOUNG AND MARK
    TEIXEIRA.
    SITUATION: 3 RUNS IN, M BYRD ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 0
    TEXAS 3 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: B WILKERSON (.222, 14 HR, 42 RBI)

    Indians vs. RangersJul 21 9:03 PM


  • AL
    AT TEXAS - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY MARK TEIXEIRA SCORED RAMON VAZQUEZ.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M TEIXEIRA ON SECOND, M YOUNG ON THIRD, 0 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: CLEVELAND 0
    TEXAS 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR TEXAS: S SOSA (.239, 14 HR, 64 RBI)

    Indians vs. RangersJul 21 8:58 PM