ARLINGTON, Texas — Except for one big game in Texas, the Cleveland Indians have struggled to score in the past week since leaving home.
“I don’t group it into weeks because it’s not productive,” manager Terry Francona said. “I think every game is totally different.”
The Indians still have a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL Central after losing three of four at the AL-best Texas Rangers, the latest by a 2-1 score on Sunday.
Danny Salazar (11-5) matched his season high with 10 strikeouts and allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings, but the Indians managed only one run in six innings against Derek Holland. The Texas lefty also benefited from two highlight-reel catches by left fielder Carlos Gomez.
Cleveland’s only win at Texas was 12-1 on Friday night. In the Indians’ other six games the past week, they scored a total of four runs. They had three consecutive games with one run at Oakland — winning one of them — before the series at Texas, where they were shut out in the games before and after the 12-run outburst.
“Every time we go home, it’s like we’re a different team. Not to say we can’t win on the road, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some high-scoring games from us when we get home,” second baseman Jason Kipnis said. “It’s just the way things are going. Guys are still confident. … We’re still up 4 1/2, and you can’t take that lightly, how hard it is to catch us once we start playing our game.”
The Indians play their next 10 games at home, starting against Minnesota, the AL’s worst team. Second-place Detroit has lost its last two games, to the Los Angeles Angels.
In 11 games at home before going to Oakland and Texas, the Indians went 8-3 to increase their division lead from 3 1/2 games to seven.
Holland (6-6) allowed a run and four hits with five strikeouts in six innings, the same as in his return from the disabled list five days earlier in a loss at Cincinnati after missing two months with shoulder inflammation.
Ian Desmond and Jonathan Lucroy each had an RBI single for Texas, which has an 8 1/2-game lead over Houston and Seattle after both those AL West rivals lost Sunday.
Cleveland loaded the bases in the ninth against closer Sam Dyson, who allowing a single and then consecutive one-out walks before striking out pinch-hitter Tyler Naquin and retiring Abraham Almonte on a fly ball to end it. It was Dyson’s 29th save in 33 chances.
In the sixth, with two Indians still on base and two outs after Kipnis’ RBI single cut the margin to 2-1, Mike Napoli hit a hard liner to left. Gomez was sprinting back and reaching over his head when he made the catch.
That was an inning after Gomez made a leaping catch with his glove extended as his body crashed into the left-field wall to rob Jose Ramirez of a hit.
“He was the hero today,” Holland said. “I may have pitched a fairly good game … those are two big, huge catches.”
RUN AFTER REVIEW
Desmond’s run-scoring single in the second came on the first pitch after Elvis Andrus had been initially called out on a stolen base. The Rangers challenged and Andrus, who went to second while Nomar Mazara struck out, was ruled safe on a replay review that extended the inning.
The Indians finished with six hits, and the Rangers had five. All of them were singles. It was only the third game in the 22-year history of the Rangers’ ballpark that didn’t include any extra-base hits. The previous one was against the Angels three years ago.
Indians: Just before the deep fly Gomez caught, Ramirez fouled a pitch off his right leg, just above his knee. … LF Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. It was the third time in this series and MLB-high 28th time this season he was plunked.
Rangers: There was a short delay in the fourth inning when team photographer Kelly Gavin was struck on the back of the head by a foul ball hit into the photographer’s well at the far end of the Rangers dugout. Gavin got the rest of the day off, and team officials said she would be OK.
Indians right-hander Trevor Bauer (9-6) starts the series opener against the Twins.