The Rangers had to scratch starting pitcher Matt Harrison due to a blister problem and replace him with utility arm Dave Bush in their series opener against the AL leading Cleveland Indians. They looked sunk early, as an Indians rally in the second plated three runs and Bush had to leave the game to the bullpen after just four innings.
A resilient Rangers offense struck back to score six off of starter Carlos Carrasco and another against reliever Rafael Perez to surge ahead, and Texas’ bullpen, led by winner Michael Kirkman (3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K) allowed just a solo home run over five innings.
Two of the Rangers’ runs were unearned, as Perez and Carlos Santana each made errors that led to runs and two more misplays by Matt LaPorta contributed to another.
The Rangers were led by a four-hit effort from Endy Chavez and two hits apiece from Michael Young, Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland. Carlos Santana singled twice, walked twice and stole a base for Cleveland.
The win moves Texas to 31-26 and a temporary two-game AL West lead over the Seattle Mariners, who play Tampa Bay in a late game. Texas and Cleveland will meet again Friday in game two of their four-game set, as early season wonders Alexi Ogando and Justin Masterson square off.