I’ve been worried about this series with the Rangers all week. Going in, the Rangers were 17-8 with the second-best record in the majors, as well as leading the American League in team batting average (.288), on-base percentage (.347) and slugging (.470). They’re just a steamroller of an offense.
And there’s the sometimes-hot, sometimes-cold, sometimes-we-give-it-away-Jose-Mesa-style Indians. We’ve spent the last week and a half in first place in the AL Central partly because we’ve winning ballgames and partly because the Tigers have not. And yet the Indians and Jeanmar Gomez managed to hold the Rangers to just three runs and to score six earned runs against Colby Lewis, who went into the game 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA
Choo and Hannahan both homered, and Johnny Damon got his second hit as an Indian with a 2-RBI triple in the bottom of the 7th. Incidentally Hannahan must have built a shrine to Jobu in his locker. His solo dinger was originally ruled a triple. After Manny Acta asked for a review, it was ruled a home run.
Perhaps I worry too much, or maybe I’m not quite living in Believeland yet. There were a few moments when the Indians made little mistakes that could have blown up in their collective faces and didn’t. For instance, in the top of the third, Mitch Moreland hit a high fly ball to left that Johnny Damon just couldn’t follow. He spun around like a dog getting its leash wound around a tree. Moreland doubled and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Ian Kinsler, but that was the only damage.
Far more nerve-wracking was an ill-advised play by Gomez at the top of the 7th. With Mitch Moreland on first and no outs, Alberto Gonzalez made what should have been a sacrifice bunt. Gomez fielded it cleanly and then defied the laws of all that is sensible and threw to second. Not just any throw, mind you. A lousy throw. Asdrubal Cabrera managed to bring it in, but Moreland was safe by a mile. And so was Gonzalez. But instead of one out and a man on second, Gomez had no outs and men on first and second. I bit my nails and knashed a few teeth, then Ian Kinsler hit into a double play and Elvis Andrus grounded out, and we were safe again.
In the top of the 9th, Nelson Cruz reached first on an error by Jack Hannahan. Jack Hannahan. The guy with the best fielding percentage of all AL third basemen in 2011. And still it didn’t blow up in their faces. Three batters and a couple of fly balls and a line drive later, it was all over. Indians win, 6-3. Happy fans all over Believeland will go to bed with a contented smile.