The Cleveland Indians’ starting pitching finally stepped up to help the club end a woeful stretch. To stay on the right track, they’ll look for a similar performance from Ubaldo Jimenez on Wednesday night on the road against the Texas Rangers.
Corey Kluber answered the call Tuesday, firing eight innings of one-run ball in a 5-2 win, snapping Cleveland’s eight-game slide as well as a 12-game road losing streak. The club’s starters posted a 7.59 ERA during the eight-game skid.
“It really wasn’t any different than another game,” said Kluber, who attended Coppell High School less than 25 miles away from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. “I’ve seen, I couldn’t tell you how many games here. I’ve thrown here in college summer league. … It really didn’t feel any different.”
Mark Reynolds went 2 for 4 with the go-ahead RBI single in the fourth, while Nick Swisher drove in a run. Swisher had been hitless in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position over his last 10 games, but has hit safely in 17 of 18 against the Rangers (38-26) with 14 RBIs.
“It’s good to get back in the ‘W’ column,” Reynolds said. “We can stop worrying about it now and just relax and play ball.”
For a second straight win, Cleveland (31-33) will need Jimenez (4-4, 5.03 ERA) to bounce back from a rocky start at Detroit on Friday. He needed 85 pitches to get through three-plus innings – his second-shortest start of the year – while getting charged with five runs, seven hits and three walks in a 7-5 loss.
Jimenez had been 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA over his last seven starts.
“In the first inning, I felt really good,” said Jimenez, who is 1-2 with a 4.37 ERA in four starts versus Texas, walking 15 over 22 2-3 innings. “In the second inning, everything was going the other way. I threw too many pitches in that inning and after that, I was kind of fatigued.”
Also looking for a better outing for the Rangers will be Nick Tepesch (3-5, 3.92). He limited Toronto to one run for five innings on Friday, then gave up four in the sixth as well as another in the seventh, leading to a 6-1 loss. The six earned runs were a season high for the right-hander.
“For five innings there he was moving his ball around and keeping it down, staying off the fat part of the zone,” manager Ron Washington said. “That one inning they just got him.”
Cleveland could prove to be a timely opponent for Tepesch, as the Indians are 15-26 in games in which they’ve faced a rookie starter since the beginning of last season.
Elvis Andrus has hit safely in all 34 career games versus Cleveland, batting .379. It’s the longest hitting streak against one team by a Texas player.
Adrian Beltre is 5 for 12 with two doubles and a homer off Jimenez, while Nelson Cruz is 0 for 9 with seven strikeouts.
Carlos Santana, who was 1 for 3 Tuesday, is 22 for 64 (.344) with a .656 slugging percentage and 16 RBIs over his last 17 games against Texas.