Texas Watch: Rangers edged by Indians 4-3

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Texas Watch: Rangers edged by Indians 4-3

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CLEVELAND -- Jeanmar Gomez and three Cleveland relievers combined to beat the Texas Rangers 4-3 and the Indians snapped a six-game losing streak Saturday night.The win was Cleveland's sixth in 34 games since July 27.Texas entered with a four-game lead in the AL West over Oakland and lost for just the fifth time in 16 games.Gomez worked 5 2-3 innings. Joe Smith, Esmil Rogers and Vinnie Pestano finished. Pestano allowed two hits over 1 1-3 innings for his first save.Pestano has been Chris Perez's setup man for two years, but Cleveland's All-Star closer never warmed up.
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Cleveland scored four runs in the first inning off Scott Feldman (6-11). The Indians are 42-24 when scoring four or more runs.Carlos Santana had a two-run single before Casey Kotchman and Jack Hannahan each had RBI groundouts in the first inning.David Murphy hit his 11th homer leading off the third for the Rangers' first hit. He walked to open the fifth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Moreland to make it 4-2.Adrian Beltre's 26th homer with two outs in the sixth made it 4-3 and finished Gomez.Gomez allowed three runs and four hits in his first start since being recalled from Triple-A Columbus on Wednesday. The right-hander opened the season in Cleveland's rotation and was 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in four April starts before struggling and being sent to Columbus on June 24.Feldman settled down and pitched shutout ball for his last five innings, but fell to 0-5 in five starts since Aug. 5.The Indians are just 12-36 since the All-Star break, with losing streaks of 11 and nine games before this six-game slide.Elvis Andrus hit safely against Cleveland for the 28th straight game, setting a Rangers record for a hitting streak against one team. Ivan Rodriguez had hit in 27 straight against Tampa Bay in 1998-2000.Andrus extended the streak in his final at-bat in strange fashion. He took a big cut at a pitch from Rogers and sent a weak dribbler that hugged the third base line. It rolled foul at one point, weaved back into fair territory and Andrus laughed as he reached first base when the ball stopped at the third base bag.Gomez started in place of Roberto Hernandez, out with a sprained right ankle. Hernandez left a start Monday because of the injury and tweaked it during fielding practice on Thursday. He will wear a protective boot for at least a week.Cleveland also was without All-Star shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera, a late lineup scratch with a sore right wrist. Cabrera came in on defense in the ninth.Notes: Russ Canzler, called up from Triple-A Columbus, went 2 for 4 as the DH in his Indians debut. ... Texas manager Ron Washington said he will try and get some playing time for prospect Jurickson Profar. When he does debut, the 19-year-old infielder will become the youngest Rangers player since C Ivan Rodriguez, also at age 19 in 1991. ... Washington wants to give Andrus some rest and used him as the DH. Andrus has missed only four games, starting 123 at shortstop. ... Cabrera has hit .103 over his past 11 games and .242 in the second half. ... Fans cheered as a member of the U.S. Navy Leapfrog team parachuted into the ballpark with the American flag during the national anthem.

A's 17-year-old prospect 'Lazarito' makes Cactus League debut

A's 17-year-old prospect 'Lazarito' makes Cactus League debut

Lazaro Armenteros, the A’s 17-year-old stud outfield prospect better known as “Lazarito,” is believed to have become the youngest player in franchise history to appear in a Cactus League game.

Armenteros entered at the DH spot in the eighth against the Dodgers and went 0-for-2, flying out to right-center and popping up to shallow center. With the A’s short on position players, Armenteros was brought over from minor league camp and got a little exposure to the big league environment.

“He’s quite athletic, and I know they love him over there” at minor league camp, A's manager Bob Melvin recently said.

Armenteros also got a chance to mingle with Dodger outfielder (and fellow Cuban) Yasiel Puig before the game.

“Over there (in Cuba) you kind of play the game because you like it and you enjoy it,” Armenteros recently said through interpreter Juan Dorado. “Here, it’s more like a job. There’s more preparation.”

Armenteros will stay in Arizona through extended spring training and then head to play in the Dominican Summer League.

A's spring training Day 40: Manaea downplays struggles after walking five

A's spring training Day 40: Manaea downplays struggles after walking five

MESA, Ariz. — Something flipped a switch inside Sean Manaea in the third inning Saturday, and the A’s left-hander pitched with the aggressiveness he’s shown most of spring training.

It was a different story before that, as Manaea issued five walks, two of them forcing in runs, against the Cincinnati Reds. His final Cactus League outing ended after just three innings, his pitch count at more than 70, and he was charged with five earned runs.

“I was trying to nibble at the corners too much,” Manaea said. “The third inning I finally just said, ‘Throw it right down the middle and let them hit it.’”

The plan was to get Manaea close to 90 pitches, so he went to the bullpen and threw 10 more after he was pulled from the game. He entered the day with a 2.81 ERA in his first five outings, walking just one in each of those games.

He downplayed his struggles Saturday in Oakland’s 11-6 split-squad defeat at Hohokam Stadium, and manager Bob Melvin wasn’t expressing major concern either.

“He was just out of sync,” Melvin said. “Typically you don’t see him walk guys like that, let alone multiple guys in a row. It was just a tough day for him. We wanted to try to get him close to 90 pitches. But when you’re throwing that many pitches in three innings, I just couldn’t risk sending him back out there.”

Manaea was stressing the positives of his camp afterward. As he preps for one final tune-up start at AT&T Park against the Giants in the Bay Bridge Series, he particularly likes the way his slider has rounded into form.

“Just being able to have that confidence to throw it for a strike and get weak ground balls and swings and misses, it’s huge,” he said.

CAMP BATTLE: The A’s lost their other split-squad matchup by an identical 11-6 score to the Dodgers in Glendale. Jesse Hahn took the hill and struggled for the second consecutive outing, allowing two homers — including a grand slam by Andrew Toles — and surrendering seven runs (five earned) over 3 1/3 innings. Competing for one of two open rotation spots, Hahn hasn’t shown his best in the Cactus League stretch run. He gave up seven runs against Colorado in his previous start.

ODDS AND ENDS: Third baseman Trevor Plouffe had two more hits against the Reds to raise his average to .425 but left the game after tweaking an abductor muscle in his lower body. “He felt like he’s OK. We just didn’t wanna risk that,” Melvin said. … Rajai Davis connected for his first spring home run and scored three runs. … Sean Doolittle gave up two runs in his inning of work but struck out three. He sported his new eyeglasses for the first time in a major league game. … Matt Chapman hit a three-run homer off former Athletic Rich Hill in the game at Glendale.