Feldman, Rangers doomed by 'nightmare first inning'

CLEVELAND -- A four-run deficit in the first inning didn't have anyone concerned in the Texas Rangers' dugout.

Manager Ron Washington thought his offense would put up a crooked number in one of the innings against a reeling Cleveland Indians team. It never happened, though.

The Rangers scored only single runs in three innings, and the Indians held on for a 4-3 victory on Saturday at Progressive Field.

It was only Cleveland's second win in its past 16 games while Texas lost for the second time in its past five. The Rangers' lead in the American League West dropped to three games over Oakland, which beat Boston 7-1.

"This is the big leagues; everyone is capable of winning games," Rangers infielder Michael Young said. "If you got a big league jersey on, I respect that you can play this game. They executed tonight."

The Indians jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning against Rangers starter Scott Feldman, who looked like he might not even make it through the opening frame.

He issued a five-pitch walk to Shin-Soo Choo to start the game, and the Indians followed with four consecutive hits to take a 2-0 lead. Roy Oswalt began warming in the Rangers' bullpen, but Feldman retired the next three batters on groundouts.

But two of those were run-scoring grounders to give the Indians their four-run lead.

"Nightmare first inning there," Feldman said. "They came out swinging and seemed like everything I threw up there they were swinging at. I dug too deep of a hole."

Feldman settled into a zone after that, throwing five scoreless innings. He allowed only two base runners between the second and sixth.

In the meantime, the Rangers were chipping away at the lead.

David Murphy started the third inning with a solo home run, and the Rangers pulled to within 4-2 in the fifth when Murphy scored on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Moreland.

Texas made it a one-run game in the sixth when Adrian Beltre swatted his 26th homer to straightaway center.

But the Rangers were never able to take the lead.

The Rangers had a few scoring opportunities on which they didn't capitalize.

In the fourth, they had runners at first and second with one out, but Young grounded into a double play. He rolled his hands over and sent a grounder to third base on a first-pitch sinker from Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez.

"I saw middle away and up and it ended up being down and in," said Young, who went 0 for 4 but made hard contact three times. "That's the difference between the process versus results. Obviously you want the results to be there, but if you make hard contact, more often than not, they're going to start to fall."

In the eighth and ninth, the Rangers threatened but never capitalized. Elvis Andrus reached on an infield single with one out in the eighth and moved to third on a two-out single by Beltre. But Nelson Cruz flew out to end the inning.

Murphy had a one-out single in the ninth, but Geovany Soto struck out looking before Moreland grounded out to end the game.

"We put ourselves in a good position," Murphy said. "We just didn't get that last one across."

Feldman wound up with his fifth consecutive loss. He has posted a 6.35 ERA in that stretch but hasn't pitched that poorly. Still, the losing streak has taken a toll on Feldman.

"This game checks your mental toughness all the time, so I've just got to keep grinding and get through this," Feldman said. "I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully I can keep running out there and put it all together and get on a hot streak."

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @drewdavison

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