CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 4: Shin-Soo Choo #17 of the Cleveland Indians hits a two run home run during the second inning against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field on May 4, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
The Rangers were by far the best team the Indians have faced this season, and the challenge was met well. Jeanmar Gomez didn't have a statistically impressive outing, allowing three runs and eight hits in seven innings, but considering the lineup he faced, it was quite an accomplishment. Jeanmar's stuff actually didn't have the same bite as it's had at other times this season, and seemed on the defensive all game, but never gave up the big inning, maneuvering his way through the Ranger lineup efficiently. He allowed single runs in the third, fourth, and sixth, but again, only single runs.
The Indians would need to score to win the game, and they were facing pitcher who had been very tough to score on. Colby Lewis, a control pitcher, had not allowed more than two runs in each of his previous five starts, but the Indians had some very good swings early in the game off him. Shin-Soo Choo got the scoring going with a two-run homer in the second inning, his first homer of the season. The next inning, Jack Hannahan what was initially ruled a triple and after further review a home run, and Jason Kipnis hit a double high off the right-center wall. Lewis was leaving pitches up in the zone, and it looked as if he wouldn't around for long. But the Texas starter hung around, placing his pitches in better spots, and when he came out for the bottom of the sixth, his teammates had tied the game at three.
Jason Kipnis, who continued his torrid hitting streak, led off the sixth with a single up the middle, then stole his sixth base of the season. Asdrubal Cabrera then hit a single that Elvis Andrus kept in the infield, leaving runners at first and third with nobody out. Travis Hafner, former Ranger, then had a very good at-bat before driving in Kipnis with a sacrifice fly.
Jeanmar Gomez now had the lead again, and an important three more outs to get. After Mitch Moreland led off the inning with a bloop base hit, he tried to go to second, but his throw was in the dirt, and now the top of the order was up. In perhaps the turning point of the game, Ian Kinsler hit into a double play, largely defusing the rally. He got through seven innings, leaving the game with Vinnie Pestano and Chris Perez.
But first the Indians would need insurance runs. With two out in the bottom of the seventh, Lewis made the mistake of walking Casey Kotchman, and then allowed a Jack Hannahan single. Even though left-handed reliever Robbie Ross was ready in the bullpen, Texas manager Ron Washington allowed Lewis to face Johnny Damon. Big mistake. Damon sat on a curve and hammered it to deep center, allowing both Kotchman and Hannahan to come around to score. That gave Pestano and Perez some breathing room, though they wouldn't need it. Two effective relief innings put a bow on a really nice game.