The beginning and ending of the Texas Rangers’ just-completed nine-game road trip didn’t leave much to cheer about.
But, oh, those middle seven games. The Rangers return home after a 7-2 trip that saw them win all three series and briefly return to .500 before losing 12-3 in the trip finale to the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on Wednesday afternoon. It’s the best road trip for Texas since going 9-1 in August 2013.
The Rangers (23-24) open a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox (21-26) at 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Globe Life Park. Texas won two of three at Boston to start the trip.
The Indians scored 10 runs (nine earned) and belted out 11 hits in just 2 2/3 innings against Rangers starter Colby Lewis (4-3).
An eight-run third inning in which the Indians (21-25) batted around proved too much for another Rangers comeback. Texas had won its previous three games in come-from-behind fashion.
“I was wanting to go 8-1,” Lewis said. “I feel like we’re playing really well. We’re swinging the bats really well right now. I just didn’t give the guys a chance today.”
The offense, which has blossomed during the road trip, was held in check by Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (6-4), who struck out eight and stifled the Rangers on five hits in eight innings.
“It wasn’t a good day for us, but I’m really happy with the road trip all around,” said Elvis Andrus, who had his 27-game hit streak at Progressive Field snapped when he was pulled in the sixth inning with the game out of reach. He finished with two strikeouts. “We want to win series from now on. It was tremendous road trip, and we want to carry that momentum home and continue to keep playing well at home, too.”
The Rangers, 17-11 on the road, haven’t fared as well at Globe Life Park where they’re 6-13.
“They’re still running high, and it’s time to get on that bird and fly back home and start a winning streak in our own yard,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
There were a few bright spots, despite Wednesday’s loss:
▪ Delino DeShields’ major league debut at second base in the sixth inning, home runs by Robinson Chirinos (in the fifth) and Leonys Martin (a two-run homer in the ninth).
“Very small sample but [DeShields] didn’t look out of place, he looked comfortable,” Banister said. DeShields cleanly fielded the two ground balls hit his way, one to his left and another where he had to turn and throw to shortstop for a force-out.
“It was weird coming to the infield from the outfield in the middle of a ballgame,” said DeShields, who started the game in center. “I never had time to prepare, but when I got out there I felt comfortable, as if I never left. I felt pretty comfortable.”
DeShields came up in the Astros’ organization as a second baseman before being moved to the outfield in 2014. The Rangers have discussed trying DeShields at second base since spring training to have more options.
“Whatever Skip wants to do,” DeShields said. “Today was a good day to kind of throw me out there to see how I did. I just want to play and help contribute wherever I can.”
▪ Josh Hamilton collected his first hit since joining the Rangers on Monday on a chopper past the third baseman. He’ll make his return to Globe Life Park on Thursday.
▪ Relief pitcher Jon Edwards, who was called up from Triple A Round Rock before Wednesday’s game, pitched a scoreless eighth inning with two strikeouts. He used an 89 mph slider to get Nick Swisher swinging, and a slow, bending curve ball to get Lonnie Chisenhall swinging. Edwards, who attended Keller High School, had been dominant at Round Rock this season.
“I think that’s the hardest part, just trusting that you can do it, that you should be here and believing in yourself,” Edwards said. “I think that’s a key to success for me.”