Ross pitches 7 strong innings, Rangers top Indians

Michael Brantley is forced at second as Kensuke Tanaka throws to first to complete a double play during second inning of a spring game in Goodyear, Ariz.

Darron Cummings/AP

GOODYEAR, Ariz. (AP) — Robbie Ross gave a strong audition in his bid to join the Texas rotation, pitching seven shutout innings that led the Rangers over the Cleveland Indians 5-0 Tuesday.

Ross allowed just four hits, striking out eight and walking three.

The Rangers did not commit to Ross after the game but his performance left little doubt.

"He was pitching out there again today," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He still out there. He’s done nothing to change that. He’s been pitching his butt off. He’s been doing everything. We have to make a decision soon. Robbie’s done his job against a pretty good lineup. You can’t ask for much more."

Michael Choice hit his fourth home run, connecting off Indians starter Josh Tomlin.

Tomlin is competing with Carlos Carrasco for the fourth spot in the rotation. Danny Salazar will start the fifth game.

Tomlin allowed two runs in the first but put together four scoreless innings until Choice hit the home run.

"I made a couple mistakes and that first inning got away from me. After that I was able to settle back in," Tomlin said. "I threw a hanging curveball. It kind of backed up on me."

Indians manager, Terry Francona, also faces a tough decision. Carrasco pitched well on Monday. The home run didn’t faze Francona.

"Just like the rest of them as they got stretched out, fatigue set in," Francona said. "That’s part of the program. I think Tomlin is as hard working as anyone here. That will never change."

Nick Swisher had a double and a single against Ross. Swisher was scheduled to get extra at-bats as the designated hitter on Monday but miscommunications about use of the DH between the Reds and Indians sent Swisher home early.