Created on Monday, 29 July 2013 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CLEVELAND (AP) — The outlook for the Cleveland Indians changed considerably over the weekend.
The Indians shut out Texas for the second straight day, 6-0 Sunday to complete a three-game sweep and give Cleveland its fourth straight victory.
Ubaldo Jimenez (8-5) allowed two hits in eight scoreless innings — matching his longest outing of the season — and the Indians recorded their major league-leading 14th shutout.
"Sometimes you catch a team at a good time when they're not hot and you have to take advantage of it," Indians manager Terry Francona said.
Cleveland is three games behind Detroit in the AL Central.
The Rangers, who have lost 12 of 15, have seen their normally high-powered offense come to a stop. Texas hasn't scored since the eighth inning of Friday night's 11-8 loss in 11 innings, a stretch of 21 innings. The Rangers are 2-8 since the All-Star break.
"There is a difference between getting beat and losing," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "The first two games, we got beat. What I want to see is the Texas Rangers. Today they were out there, but I didn't see who I thought the Texas Rangers were."
Elvis Andrus' first-inning double and A.J. Pierzynski's single in the fifth accounted for the Rangers' only hits.
Jason Kipnis' two-out single in the fifth broke a scoreless tie. Yan Gomes' RBI single and Michael Bourn's two-run double added three runs in the sixth as the Indians completed their first three-game sweep at home over Texas since Aug. 12-14, 1980.
The Indians' winning streak has come at an opportune time. Cleveland lost four of five coming out of the All-Star break and committed 11 errors in seven games after the layoff.
"We're having fun and we're pulling off some good wins," said first baseman Nick Swisher, who had three hits Sunday. "Collectively, we're playing great. They have some great hitters over there so for our pitchers to be doing that, we're doing something right."
Jimenez struck out six and walked three. Vinnie Pestano pitched the ninth.
"It's good competition," Jimenez said of the Indians' pitching success. "You don't want to be the guy who goes out there and doesn't pitch well. Everybody wants to pitch a good game."
Kipnis' single came off Alexi Ogando (4-3), who allowed one run in 4 2-3 innings. Cleveland's sixth-inning runs came off reliever Robbie Ross. Mike Aviles added a two-run homer in the eighth.
Kipnis' first-inning single capped a 12-pitch at-bat against Ogando, who had to work around trouble in the first three innings before settling down. He retired seven straight at one point before Bourn drew a two-out walk in the fifth. Swisher singled before Kipnis dropped a single in front of right fielder Nelson Cruz to score Bourn.
Kipnis' hit finished Ogando, who threw 92 pitches in his second start since coming off the disabled list. The right-hander allowed three runs in five innings on Wednesday against the Yankees. Ogando allowed six hits, walked two and struck out one.
Singles by Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana started the sixth-inning rally. Gomes singled up the middle with two outs to score Brantley before Bourn drove a double to left-center for a 4-0 lead.
Jimenez, who struck out six and walked three, dodged trouble in the first when Andrus doubled with one out. Cruz followed with a walk, but Adrian Beltre bounced into a double play.
Jimenez retired 10 in a row before Pierzynski singled to lead off the fifth. David Murphy walked and Jurickson Profar sacrificed but Mitch Moreland, who is hitless in his past 20 at-bats, popped out. Leonys Martin hit a hard ground ball on a 3-2 pitch to Swisher, who made a lunging stop at first base. He dropped the ball on the way to the bag, but recovered in time to record the out.
Right fielder Ryan Raburn made a leaping catch at the wall in the eighth to take an extra base hit from Mitch Moreland. Bourn never saw the ball off the bat and Raburn raced into right-center to make the catch.
Andrus has hit safely in all 37 career games against the Indians.
Texas right-hander Tanner Scheppers pitched a scoreless seventh inning in his first appearance since he was involved in a physical altercation in downtown Cleveland late Thursday night. He sustained facial cuts and bruises in the incident, which the Rangers and police are investigating, and was unavailable to pitch Friday. Scheppers said before Saturday's game that he could pitch but wasn't used.
NOTES: Washington said the slumping Moreland will likely be rested in two of the next three games. ... Texas returns home Monday to begin a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. Rangers RHP Matt Garza (1-0), who was acquired from the Cubs last week, takes on Angels RHP Jered Weaver (5-5). Garza has a 7-1 overall record in 12 starts this season. ... The Indians continue their seven-game homestand Monday against the Chicago White Sox. Indians RHP Zach McAllister (4-6) faces White Sox LHP John Danks (2-8) in the opener of a four-game series.