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McCarthy falls despite strong effort

McCarthy pitches well in loss

ARLINGTON -- It's been exactly two months since Brandon McCarthy won a game. Granted he had a stint on the disabled list, but McCarthy has pitched well enough to get at least a couple of wins during his past five starts.

Friday he held the Indians to three runs through 5 2/3 innings, but the Rangers offense did not provide any run support against Indians starter Fausto Carmona. Carmona threw eight shutout innings to lift Cleveland (57-39) to a 3-2 victory over the Rangers (41-55) at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

The lack of run support has been a common trend during McCarthy's starts. In five of his last six outings, the Rangers have provided no runs for him. He received two runs Sunday against the Angels.

"It's not easy but my job is to put up zeroes," McCarthy (4-7) said. "Carmona didn't have much [run support] tonight either, but he got it done. If you keep throwing your game, things will come around eventually."

In his last three starts, McCarthy is 0-2 with a 3.57 ERA. The reason the Rangers offense hasn't been able to produce runs were tough opposing pitchers. He was outpitched by Carmona (12-4) Friday, who had a wicked sinker that reached 96-98 mph. Carmona was locating his secondary pitches -- a slider and changeup -- as well. McCarthy was also the victim when Orioles' ace Erik Bedard threw a gem with 15 strikeouts July 7 against the Rangers.

"My saying is, 'good pitching always stops hitting.' Each time out, [McCarthy] has got us into the sixth and he always faces a very tough pitcher," manager Ron Washington said. "He can't give up much because the opposing pitcher is good."

No doubt Carmona was good. He got 14 groundball outs with his sinker, and struck out seven relying mostly on his changeup.

"Carmona was incredible, he shut us down," said first baseman Mark Teixeira, who went 1-for-4 on the night. "He threw so many strikes, when he's got stuff like that, we're not going to score many runs. We made a game of it, just wished [Carmona] would've left earlier."

McCarthy was no match for Carmona, but he did battle out of a jam in the fourth inning, with the bases loaded and one-out. He got a soft line drive to second base and a fly out to right to escape unscathed. In the fifth, McCarthy gave up one run. Grady Sizemore hit a soft grounder to Teixeira, which allowed Josh Barfield to score from third.

"The ball was hit right to the bag and [Barfield] was going to be safe anyways, but you just throw it in case he trips," Teixeira said.

The Indians took a three-run lead when former Ranger Travis Hafner crushed a two-run home run to right in the sixth.

"It was a fastball in," McCarthy said. "I'd still throw it there. He just muscled the ball out of the park.

"My mechanics seem to fall apart in the fourth and fifth inning. I got to do a better job in the fourth and fifth getting them up and down. I can't let them spiral out of control."

McCarthy left in the sixth, after allowing three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and three walks in his 100-pitch outing.

The Rangers did make it interesting in the ninth against Indians closer Joe Borowski, pulling within one. Desi Relaford, who replaced an injured Kenny Lofton, reached base on a fielding error. Adam Melhuse followed with a pinch-hit single. Teixeira drove in Relaford to pull the Rangers within two. Marlon Byrd grounded into what appeared to be a game-ending double play, but beat out the throw to first. With two-out, Frank Catalanotto drew a walk to load the bases. Gerald Laird then hit what appeared to be the game-ending groundout, but reached on an Indians fielding error, their second of the inning. With the winning run on second, Borowski struck out Brad Wilkerson to end the game and pick up his 28th save.

"We were one swing away from pulling it off," Washington said. "One hit -- that's all you can ask for. I thought Wilky was going to get it done."

The Rangers were without Lofton for the majority of the game, who was helped off the field in the third inning after fouling a ball of his big right toe. His X-rays were negative and the Rangers announced he is day-to-day with a bruised right big toe.

After losing the first two games of the four-game series against Cleveland's potent one-two punch, C.C. Sabathia and Carmona, the Rangers will try to provide more run support for Saturday's starter Jamey Wright. The Rangers face left-hander Cliff Lee of the Indians.

Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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