Rangers register third twin-bill sweep

Rangers register third twin-bill sweep

CLEVELAND -- In September of 1928, the Boston Braves set a Major League record by playing in nine straight doubleheaders.

Maybe that's what the Rangers need to catch the Angels and/or the Red Sox in the playoff chase. They seem to have this doubleheader thing down.

Brandon McCarthy won for the second time in two starts since coming off the disabled list as the Rangers completed their doubleheader sweep with a 10-5 victory over the Indians in Game 2 at Progressive Field on Tuesday night.

Texas led, 7-0, after four innings but was down to a two-run lead until a three-run home run by Chris Davis in the top of the ninth. Center fielder Marlon Byrd had three hits in the second game and seven for the night, setting a new Rangers record for most hits in a doubleheader.

"Doubleheaders have been very good for us this year," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "When you play two games in one day, that makes the day that much more important, and I think everybody here realizes that."

The Rangers also beat the Indians, 11-9, in the first game to sweep their second doubleheader in a week and their third in three tries this season. The Rangers are 6-4 in their past 10 games, and four of the six wins came in two doubleheader sweeps of the Blue Jays and Indians.

They are 14-4-6 in doubleheaders over the past four years. This sweep moved them to within two games of the Red Sox in the American League Wild Card race.

The Rangers, who did not score in their final 15 innings in Baltimore over the weekend, scored 21 runs on 31 hits, including five home runs, in the two games. They were 13-for-28 with runners in scoring position.

"That was nice," Byrd admitted. "It seems like this team can forget about what happened the day before and still get it done. We buckled down tonight. Up and down the lineup, nobody really made any mistakes. We played unselfish baseball, got guys over and got big hits with runners in scoring position."

The Rangers hit four home runs, including two by Julio Borbon and a three-run shot by Byrd, in the Game 1 victory over the Indians. Neftali Feliz, who earned his first Major League victory in relief of Tommy Hunter, is the youngest Rangers pitcher to get his first win since Edwin Correa did so at age 19 back in 1986.

But Feliz, who is 21, walked Lou Marson in the sixth to end a streak of 17 straight batters retired going back to Aug. 26. He also allowed a home run by Travis Hafner in the seventh to end his streak of 20 1/3 scoreless innings.

McCarthy also had a Game 2 win in the sweep of the Blue Jays last week. This time, he emerged triumphant despite allowing five runs in 6 1/3 innings. The Rangers almost let a 7-0 lead slip away, but he is now 2-0 with a 4.27 ERA in two starts after missing three months with a stress fracture in his right shoulder blade.

"It was nice to have an early lead, but you can run into that pitfall of losing focus, and I was guilty of that late in the game," McCarthy said. "You have a team down like that, you can't let them up."

Rangers manager Ron Washington was hoping McCarthy could get through seven innings, but he gave up a solo home run to Kelly Shoppach in the fifth and a two-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera in the sixth. That made it 7-3, and McCarthy left after a one-out walk to Chris Gimenez and a double to Shoppach in the seventh. Both runners ended up scoring.

"We tried to get him through the seven," Washington said. "Up until that point, he was throwing the ball extremely well. He was using all his pitches well. You can't ask any more than that. He's one of the freshest arms we've got. It would be nice if he could get us through six or seven innings. He could be a big lift."

McCarthy went up against Aaron Laffey, the Indians left-hander who had started in a 5-0 shutout of the Rangers on Aug. 13 here in Cleveland. Laffey threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings in that game, but this time he couldn't get past the fourth inning.

Laffey, despite giving up two hits, did pitch a scoreless first, but the Rangers smacked him around for four runs in the second after loading the bases on a leadoff single by Nelson Cruz, a one-out walk worked by Taylor Teagarden and a single from Davis.

Esteban German, hitting in the ninth spot, singled up the middle for two runs, Kinsler singled to left for another and Elvis Andrus brought home the fourth run with a grounder to the right side. An RBI single by David Murphy and Davis' sacrifice fly made it 6-0 in the third, and the Rangers added one more in the seventh on a double by Kinsler and singles by Marlon Byrd and Andruw Jones.

"The last time we faced him, he pitched on the edge of the plate and we chased him," Washington said. "Tonight we laid off those pitches and made him throw the ball over the plate."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.