ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Rangers manager Jeff Banister had a pregame message Sunday for every Texas reliever: There are no set roles right now in the much-maligned bullpen.
The relievers were then nearly perfect in a 5-1 win over the Cleveland Indians to avoid a three-game sweep.
“It was not unlike games we’ve been playing, we just happened to have some 1-2-3 innings late,” Banister said. “A shot in the arm for us, something we haven’t had in a while.”
Three Texas relievers combined for four scoreless innings, retiring 12 of 13 batters faced, after Nick Martinez (3-0) got out of plenty of jams in his five innings to get his first win in more than a month.
Ross Ohlendorf (one inning) and Tanner Scheppers (two innings) each had a perfect outing after coming up Triple-A Round Rock earlier Sunday. Shawn Tolleson struck out two while allowing only a two-out single in the ninth.
“Couple of new guys and new faces, and they go out there and throw really well, so you want to go out there and match it,” Tolleson said. “Maybe we can start a little competition down there, or something, and get things rolling.”
Mitch Moreland had a two-run homer after an earlier hit off the top of the wall. Prince Fielder had two more singles, one of them driving in a run.
After Moreland lined a double off the top of the right-field wall in the second that produced the first Texas run, his drive estimated at 407 feet in the sixth just cleared the wall in center and made it 4-1.
Carlos Carrasco (4-4) struck out nine in eight innings, the first complete game for a Cleveland pitcher this season. He threw 77 of his 114 pitches for strikes.
“He made a couple mistakes, basically to Moreland, a couple that really cost us the runs. But I mean he pitched eight innings,” manager Terry Francona said. “Instead of losing 4-1 at one point, 5-1, we probably should have been up six, seven because we had such good opportunities early, and we didn’t do anything with them.”
Martinez allowed one run in five innings for his first victory in six starts since winning his first two games this season. The right-hander struck out six, but gave up five hits, walked five (one intentionally) and hit a batter.
Michael Brantley had an RBI double in the fifth for Cleveland, which left nine runners on base against Martinez.
Texas went ahead to stay in the first after Moreland’s liner in the second that ricocheted off the wall. Adrian Beltre scored from first, coming home on right fielder Nick Swisher’s throwing error after getting the ball.
Shin-Soo Choo drew a one-out walk in the third and came home on Fielder’s bloop single to center. Fielder had another bloop hit in the sixth before scoring on Moreland’s second homer of the season.
TEXAS PITCHING SHUFFLE
Scheppers and Ohlendorf came up after Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa was designated for assignment after only two appearances and left-handed starter Ross Detwiler on the 15-day disabled list. Fujikawa allowed three runs in 1 2-3 innings over two appearances after he was activated from the DL on Thursday. Before Sunday’s games, Texas relievers had a 4.75 ERA, including closer Neftali Feliz allowing three runs in a 10-8 loss Saturday night.
ONE AT A TIME
Fielder is hitting .344 through 38 games, with 39 of his 52 hits being singles. He also has eight doubles and five home runs.
Indians: When Shaun Marcum is scheduled to take over Cleveland’s rotation spot for departed Bruce Chen on Wednesday, T.J. House — the No. 5 starter to begin the season — is set the same day to make his second rehab start in the minors in his recovery from left elbow inflammation.
Rangers: LHP Ross Detwiler (0-5 in seven starts) was put on the 15-day disabled list with left shoulder inflammation. The move was retroactive to Friday, the day after his last start.
Indians: Cleveland is headed to Chicago for the start of a four-game series against the White Sox. Reigning AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber (1-5) goes for his second win in a row after going 0-5 his first eight starts.
Rangers: After playing 16 days in a row, the Rangers have an off day Monday before opening a nine-game trip. They play Tuesday at Boston.