Indians win fourth straight following three-game sweep of Texas
Jimenez pitches eight shutout innings in 6-0 Tribe victory.
Cleveland, OH -- Ubaldo Jimenez pitched eight shutout innings, leading the Cleveland Indians to a 6-0 victory and a three-game sweep over the Texas Rangers.
The Indians shut out the Rangers for the second game in a row. Additionally, the Indians swept the Rangers at home for the first time since 1980.
"Sometimes you catch a team at a good time when they're not hot and you have to take advantage of it," said Indians manager Terry Francona.
The Indians have now won four games in a row, but still trail the Detroit Tigers by three games in the American League Central. The Tigers have won three games in a row, including a 12-4 Sunday beating of the Philadelphia Phillies.
"We're having fun and we're pulling off some good wins," said first baseman Nick Swisher, who finished with three hits on the day. "Collectively, we're playing great."
Jimenez (8-5, 4.17) allowed just two hits and matched his longest outing of the season. Vinnie Pestano pitched around a walk in the ninth as the Indians recorded their major league-leading 14th shutout of the season.
Jimenez went eight scoreless innings while allowing two or fewer hits for the first time since April 17, 2010, the night he tossed a no-hitter.
The Rangers threatened to score in the first and fifth, but Jimenez managed to work around trouble in both innings.
Elvis Andrus doubled with one out in the first to extend his hitting streak against the Indians to 37 games. Nelson Cruz followed with a walk, but Adrian Beltre bounced into a double play to end the inning.
Jimenez set down the next 10 in a row before A.J. Pierzynski singled to open the fifth. After a walk, Jurickson Profar sacrificed to put runners at second and third, but Mitch Moreland popped out. Leonys Martin hit a hard ground ball on a 3-2 pitch to Swisher, who made a diving stop at first base. He fumbled the ball on the way to the bag, but still recorded the out.
Over the last three weeks, Indians starting pitchers are 8-2 with a 1.79 ERA. Cleveland hurlers held a potent Texas lineup scoreless over the final 21 innings of the series, as the Rangers have lost 12 of their last 15 games.
"It's good competition," Jimenez said of the recent stretch of success by the Tribe rotation. "You don't want to be the guy who goes out there and doesn't pitch well. Everybody wants to pitch a good game."
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Rangers starter Alexi Ogando walked Michael Bourn, who advanced to third on a single by Swisher. Jason Kipnis followed with a line drive single just in front of Cruz in right to put the Indians ahead 1-0.
Ogando (4-3. 3.05) was pulled after the Kipnis single, having allowed one earned run on six hits in four and two-thirds innings. Ogando was previously 3-0 with a 0.84 ERA in eight career games against the Indians.
Cleveland caused more two-out trouble in the sixth with runners on first and third, when Yan Gomes singled up the middle off Robbie Ross, scoring Michael Brantley from third. Bourn followed with a two-run double to deep-center, putting the Indians up 4-0.
Bourn now has 10 RBIs in his last four games and has hit in six games in a row. Gomes had three hits on the day to raise his season average to .283.
In the bottom of the eighth, Mike Aviles iced the game, driving a two-run home run to the home-run porch in left off Ross Wolf. The homer was the sixth of the season for Aviles and put the home team up by six.
Notes: Ubaldo Jimenez has gone 5-2 with a 2.93 ERA and a .240 opponents' batting average over his past 12 starts.
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.
Right now he's locked in and should be playing every day.
Every series is starting to feel like an "important" series. We get a little bit unlucky this week, as we are getting CHW and MIA's aces, but the way our SP are going right now, 5-2 this week seems very possible. If we can go 5-2 this week, we will be playing the Tigers next week with the division lead on the line. Exciting stuff!