Rangers take care of business against Indians

Posted Tuesday, Sep. 11, 2012  comments  Print Reprints

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ARLINGTON -- The schedule has taken a favorable turn for the Texas Rangers this week as they are home for six games against Cleveland and Seattle.

Those two teams entered Tuesday with 30 more losses than victories this season, and the Indians have won the fewest games in the American League since the All-Star break.

While both are major league teams capable of winning any day, they have become clichés this time of year. Each is a "dangerous" team that is playing "the spoiler role" and "has nothing to lose."

The Rangers, meanwhile, could have plenty of aspirations spoiled and do have something to lose the rest of the season.

Whether they will say it or not, the Rangers need to have a good week. It started well Tuesday.

Matt Harrison allowed two runs in 52/3 innings and picked up his 16th victory, and Adrian Beltre hit his 31st homer of the season as the Rangers held on for a 6-4 victory at Rangers Ballpark.

"Our focus is winning as many games as we can, and we need to keep winning series," said shortstop Elvis Andrus, who drove in the Rangers' final run.

"A week from now, we're going to have some interesting games. Right now, we have to go out there and take care of business and win them all if we can. Don't let them take one away."

Michael Young singled to drive in the first of four runs in second inning, and Leonys Martin had a double, an RBI and scored a run in his first start since being recalled from Triple A Round Rock on Sept. 1.

The victory ensured that the Rangers' lead in the American League West at minimum would be three games, pending the outcome of a late game on the West Coast between second-place Oakland and third-place Anaheim.

The Rangers have 13 games remaining against their nearest rivals, but they see every team as a rival at this point in the season.

"There are times when people forget about the level of difficulty in the major leagues," Young said. "These are the best players in the world. Every team has talent, and every team has the ability to play the game well.

"It comes down to execution. We've been through a lot together. We know what it takes to win games. Who we play is the least of our concern. We want to make sure we're focusing on things we have to do to play well."

Harrison (16-9) said that he felt well-rested after getting two extra days following his last start. It showed early, as he opened with three perfect innings.

He took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, though he had to survive consecutive walks to start a scoreless fourth, before the Indians scored a run with two outs.

They added another two-out run in the sixth on an RBI double by Matt LaPorta. It was the third hit of the inning against Harrison, who didn't throw another pitch.

"I wasn't taking any more chances," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The first three innings he was sharp. In the fourth, fifth and sixth, he started getting the ball up. I wasn't taking any more chances."

Alexi Ogando, pitching for the first time since Wednesday because of right biceps soreness, worked 11/3 perfect innings, but Cleveland closed to a two-run deficit with two runs in the eighth against Mike Adams.

Joe Nathan, though, earned his 32nd save with a 1-2-3 ninth, and the Rangers had done what they need to do against one of those dangerous teams this time of year.

"No doubt about it," Washington said. "They don't have anything to lose, so they're out there staying relaxed.

"We just have to stay on top of our game. When an opportunity presents itself, we have to do what the game asks us to do and get those easy runs, and cash in RBIs against these types of teams because they keep fighting."

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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