ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Brian Jordan has feasted on fastballs
throughout his 13-year major league career, and he wasn't going to
let a first-pitch heater get by him in a tie game.
Jordan's tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning helped the Texas
Rangers extend their winning streak to four games with a 5-2
victory over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night.
With two outs and nobody on in a 2-2 game, Jordan hit the first
pitch from C.C. Sabathia (9-7) over the center-field fence and gave
the Rangers their first lead of the game.
"He threw me a good fastball, and I wasn't late," said Jordan,
who went 2-for-3 to raise his average from .167 to .182. "It felt
good. I've just got to keep competing when I get a chance to
Jordan has been limited to 29 games due to knee problems, but
still has the respect of his young teammates.
"I know fans look at the numbers, but B.J. is a huge part of
this club," Rangers shortstop Michael Young said. "He's obviously
still got it. He's just trying to get his knee healthy."
Said Rangers manager Buck Showalter: "There's not a lot of
people on the field who have a better pedigree than Brian Jordan."
Sabathia had an 11.00 ERA in two previous starts against the
Rangers this season, but was sharper this time, allowing five runs
and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked
Erasmo Ramirez (4-3) pitched 1 2-3 innings of one-hit relief for
the win. Ramirez, Brian Shouse, Frank Francisco and Francisco
Cordero combined for 4 2-3 innings of scoreless one-hit relief.
Cordero got three outs for his 36th save in 38 chances.
"It's easy to be spoiled by those guys," Young said. "Our
bullpen has been our collective MVP."
Victor Martinez hit his 20th homer for the Indians, who've lost
six of seven to the Rangers this season.
Cleveland fell 2½ games behind idle Minnesota in the AL Central.
"Those guys have played us tough all year," Indians manager
Eric Wedge said of the Rangers. "We have two games left against
them to turn it around. They're a good team with a lot of pop in
Texas remains a half-game behind first-place Oakland in the AL
West. The Athletics beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 on Monday night.
Rangers right-hander Mickey Callaway was activated from the
disabled list for the start. He left a 2-2 game after 4 1-3 innings
and 85 pitches, allowing two runs and five hits.
Callaway had been out since April 14 because of a right ulnar
nerve injury. He appeared in two games for the Rangers in April,
going 0-1 with a 23.14 ERA.
The Indians took a 2-0 lead in the first when Matt Lawton led
off with a single and Martinez hit a two-out homer.
In the third, Texas loaded the bases with nobody out on two
singles and a walk. Gary Matthews Jr. scored from third on Young's
high hopper to third that glanced off Casey Blake's glove for an
error. But Sabathia struck out Alfonso Soriano, then got Mark
Teixeira to ground into a double play to keep the score at 2-1.
Hank Blalock's sacrifice fly in the fourth tied it at 2.
Texas loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, and Sabathia
walked Teixeira, the final batter he faced, on a pitch close to the
outside corner to force in a run. Sabathia showed his frustration
after the pitch was called a ball, but said he was simply angry
with himself, not at plate umpire Brian Runge.
"I think I'll apologize to the umpire," Sabathia said. "I
knew it was a ball. I was just mad at myself."
Sabathia said walks proved his undoing.
"I stopped counting after four walks," Sabathia said. "As
many walks as I gave up, I was surprised it took them until the
seventh inning to break out on me."
Both starters were called for balks in the fourth inning.
... The Indians had won six of their previous seven. ... Sabathia
fell to 5-2 for his career against Texas. ... Jordan has two homers
in his last six games, and three overall.