Desmond provides spark with smart baserunning, HR

Desmond provides spark with smart baserunning, HR

CLEVELAND -- Ian Desmond's bat wreaked some serious havoc early in the Rangers' 9-2 victory over the Indians on Monday night. Desmond had a two-run home run in the first inning and a double to lead off a two-run third.

He also made a subtle but effective baserunning ploy that turned up big for the Rangers as they won for the eighth time in their last 10 games. The play happened in the third inning with the Rangers leading, 3-0, against Indians starter Josh Tomlin. Desmond led off the inning with a double and went to third on Prince Fielder's grounder to the right side.

Adrian Beltre followed with a chopper to the left side that shortstop Francisco Lindor fielded going to his right. Desmond didn't break for the plate but, because third baseman Juan Uribe also went for the ball, he was able to get far off the bag and distract Lindor.

Desmond's two-run homer

Lindor hesitated for just a moment and it cost him.

"I saw Uribe going for the ball so I knew third base was open," Desmond said. "So I got off as far as I could in case they bobbled the ball or something happened. It was kind of a tough read, high chopper.

"Lindor is obviously an All-Star shortstop, so you don't want to push him too far. I respect the way he plays the game. It ended up him making eye contact with me, and I kind of baited him. That wasn't the intent pre-pitch but it worked out. Once he looked at me, I knew I could draw his attention."

Lindor threw to first base but was late and off the mark. Beltre beat it out for a single, giving the Rangers runners at the corners with one out.

"Just a good play by [Desmond]," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.

Tomlin retired Nomar Mazara on a popup for the second out. Mitch Moreland followed with a roller down the first-base line. Tomlin got to the ball and threw to first, but the throw hit Moreland and he was ruled safe. Desmond scored on the play, although Indians manager Terry Francona thought home-plate umpire Manny Gonzalez should have called Moreland out for running inside the baseline.

Desmond scores on error

"I probably saw it like everyone else did," Francona said. "If you had a chance to look at it, the runner veered back into the baseline. He started out OK, but it looked like he wanted to get in the way of the throw. I think that's exactly why they put the rule in place. The umpire didn't ... I don't know what he saw. I didn't get a very good explanation. I couldn't get any explanation."

Elvis Andrus followed with single to give the Rangers a 5-0 lead. The Rangers finished with 11 hits on the night and they were 4-for-10 with runners in scoring position. But Desmond's fake at third base was just as important as anything.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.