By Christian Corona and Cody Stavenhagen
For the second straight game, it was a battle of the bullpens, and for the second straight game, Cleveland won. Jason Kipnis hit a ninth-inning home run to break a deadlock and help give the Indians a 10-8 win against the Rangers on Saturday at Globe Life Park.
Indians starter Danny Salazar left after allowing nine hits and seven runs, five earned, in 4 2/3 innings. On the other side, Texas' Colby Lewis got pulled after allowing six runs -- five earned -- in five innings.
Despite trailing early, the Rangers put together a big fifth inning to take a 7-6 lead, but the Indians came back to tie it thanks to Michael Bourn's RBI single off Keone Kela in the seventh.
Texas, though, struck back with a home run from Robinson Chirinos in the eighth off Scott Atchison, but Rangers closer Neftali Feliz couldn't hang on, surrendering the two-run homer to Kipnis that proved to be the decisive blow as the Indians clinched a series win.
"The home run hurts," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "That's probably the thing that is concerning the most. The string of home runs late, out of the bullpen. We gotta find a way to keep the ball in the ballpark. Whether it's to mix the rotation out of the bullpen, mix the pitches, these guys are going to continue to battle, and we're going to continue to give them the ball."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Kipnis comes through: The Indians left 10 men on base Saturday, half of them in the seventh and eighth innings. But they did not squander their opportunity in the ninth. The Indians entered the decisive ninth down a run before Lonnie Chisenhall, who began the rally with a leadoff double to right, scored when Rangers second baseman Thomas Field committed his second error of the game trying to turn what would have been a game-ending double play. The next batter, Kipnis, launched a 95-mph fastball from Feliz 408 feet into the right-field seats for a go-ahead, two-run home run. Kipnis is batting .517 in 14 May games. More >
Chirinos goes deep: Chirinos entered Saturday hitless in his past nine at-bats, but he made up for it in a big way. Chirinos finished 3-for-4 with a double and his go-ahead home run in the eighth. It was his third homer of the year. More >
Salazar struggles: Salazar had his worst start of the season Saturday, lasting only 4 2/3 innings while giving up seven runs (five earned) on nine hits and striking out four -- all season worsts. Salazar entered the game with a Major League-leading 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings and had struck out 37.2 percent of the batters he faced before Saturday, but fanned only 16.7 percent of the batters he faced against the Rangers.
"He didn't have his changeup," Indians manager Terry Francona said. "It looked like he was trying to get the fastball down to the wrong hitters early on. Then they started creeping up and he didn't really have anywhere to go."
Andrus safe at home: The Rangers strung together three straight hits with two outs in the fifth to tie Cleveland, but that wasn't the most exciting part of the inning. After tying the game with an RBI single, Andrus broke to steal second. Roberto Perez's throw down bounced off a sliding Andrus and dribbled into left field. Andrus took off for third, then darted home, just beating the throw with a headfirst slide to give the Rangers a 7-6 lead. More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Chirinos' go-ahead homer off Atchison with two out in the eighth inning marked the first run allowed by the Indians bullpen in 9 2/3 innings this series.
INDIANS WIN CHALLENGE Delino DeShields tried to make a sliding catch on Michael Brantley's slice down the left-field line in the first inning. The ball hit off DeShields' glove just near the line and was called foul, but Francona challenged and the call was reversed. Brantley was awarded a double after a three-minute, 40-second review. The call helped the Indians put together a three-run first inning.
"I think things could have gone either way," Lewis said. "Instant replay, either you love it or you don't. Today we didn't, of course. It's a double-edged sword."
WHAT'S NEXT Indians:Carlos Carrasco gets the start in the series finale vs. the Rangers on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. CT. He looks to bounce back from his last start, when he allowed four runs on a season-high 10 hits in a 8-3 loss to the Cardinals on Tuesday. He has an 8.31 ERA in four career outings against the Rangers.
Rangers:Nick Martinez (2-0, 1.88 ERA) goes for his first win in May. Martinez went 6 1/3 innings and allowed four earned runs in a no-decision Tuesday against the Royals.