CLEVELAND (AP) - To Manny Acta, there's a simple explanation for why the Indians have stopped winning at home.
``We didn't swing the bats particularly well,' the manager said. ``We didn't pitch very well and we didn't play very good defense either.'
The all-around poor effort left Cleveland with a 7-4 loss to the Texas Rangers and its first three-game losing streak at Progressive Field, where the Indians have several comeback wins and the best home record in the American League at 19-7.
The Indians scored three times in the second and led 3-0 after four innings, but nothing went right after that. Carlos Carrasco gave up three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth when catcher Carlos Santana committed a throwing error and first baseman Matt LaPorta's mental mistake could have cost the team an out and ended up with two runners getting back safely to their bases.
``It's going to happen here and there,' Acta said. ``You can't play stellar defense for 162 games. It's got us where we are right now so I'm not going to complain.'
The Indians went 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position, twice making three straight outs with two runners on base.
The Rangers had only one hit through four innings before their offense took off. Endy Chavez had four hits, Yorvit Torrealba drove in two runs and Nelson Cruz twice doubled to start three-run rallies as the defending AL champions won for the fourth time in their last five road games.
Carrasco (4-3) took a shutout into the fifth, but allowed six runs (five earned) in six innings.
``Carlos was one pitch away in the fifth,' Acta said. ``He couldn't keep the ball down. He elevated everything and we didn't help him out with the defense.'
``The last two innings, I wanted to be perfect with my pitches,' said Carrasco, who was trying for his fourth straight win. ``My changeup was a little bit up. When I threw my sinker and curveball, they got them.'
The Rangers tied it at 3 in the fifth. Cruz doubled, moved up on one groundout and scored on another. Chavez then singled and after Ian Kinsler walked, Elvis Andrus and Josh Hamilton each lined two-out RBI singles.
The Indians would just as soon forget what happened in the sixth. With one out Cruz doubled to left and went to third on a single by Mitch Moreland. LaPorta took the relay throw and could have gone to third where Cruz was off the bag. Instead, he turned to first where Moreland had rounded the bag, but he held the ball too long to get an out.
``He should have given up the ball,' Acta said. ``Forget about the guy at first. Who cares about that guy? You need to get an out.'
``You have to learn from it and give it up right away,' LaPorta said.
Torrealba's sacrifice fly put the Rangers ahead 4-3. Chavez then tripled home Moreland. With Kinsler at-bat, Carrasco threw a pitch past Santana, who recovered in time to freeze Chavez coming down the line. Santana's throw to Carrasco covering the plate was wild and had to be tracked down by third baseman Jack Hannahan. His throw back home was too late to get the speedy Chavez, who slid in ahead of the tag by Carrasco.
``Santana had his back to the play and Carrasco didn't say anything to him and he threw the ball,' Acta said.
Michael Kirkman (1-0) earned his first career win. The left-hander allowed one run over three innings in his 18th career relief outing. Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 15 chances.
Cleveland scored three times off Rangers starter Dave Bush in the second. Travis Buck and Orlando Cabrera each had run-scoring singles and another run scored on an RBI groundout by Hannahan.
Bush started in place of left-hander Matt Harrison, who has a blister on the middle finger of his pitching hand.
LaPorta opened the Indians' seventh with his eighth homer, a 422-foot shot into the bushes past the center field wall.
NOTES: Acta used Grady Sizemore at DH. He wanted to give the outfielder, who has had problems with both knees, a break after Sizemore played on artificial turf in Toronto earlier this week. ... Santana had two hits. He has hit safely in five of his last six games, going 9 of 19 (.474). ... The Rangers did not strike out for the first time since May 31, 2008. ... Cavaliers guard Baron Davis and pro wrestling star Jerry (The King) Lawler participated in first-pitch ceremonies.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved