Minor held the Indians spellbound for the second time this season as Texas beat the Indians 1-0 on Monday night at Progressive Field. The loss ended the Tribe’s three-game winning streak and extended the Rangers’ winning streak to five games.
The Indians (66-46) have been shut out 10 times this season. They are tied with the Tigers for the AL lead in that category. Cleveland fell to four games behind the Minnesota Twins in the AL Central Division standings with the loss.
The Tribe continues to lead the AL Wild Card Game standings, however, as they are two games ahead of Tampa Bay and 2.5 games ahead of Oakland.
The rookie Civale, making his second big-league start, turned out a near carbon copy of his June 22 win over the Tigers. In that game, he threw six scoreless innings in a 2-0 win. He struck out six and allowed two hits
He went six innings again on Monday night, allowing one run on three hits. Civale (1-1, 0.75) struck out seven and walked one in 89 pitches. But instead of the win, he got the loss.
The Indians may have let him go deeper, but he’s been on the injured list twice already this season in the minors.
“I thought he battled his rear end off,” said manager Terry Francona. "He had such such good movement. Even thought the first three innings he was almost (50-50) strike to ball.
Minor (10-6, 3.06) threw seven scoreless innings. He struck out seven, walked one and allowed seven hits. The left-hander struggled in July, allowing 20 earned runs in 27 1/3 innings, but the Indians would beg to differ with those stats.
The Indians have scored one run in 23 1/3 innings against Minor in his career. He’s 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA against them.
The Tribe, for the season, has done a nice job against lefty starters. They’re 23-12 in games started by lefties. They just can’t beat Minor.
Texas took a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Elvis Andrus, the man who lives to fatten the ERAs of Tribe pitchers, opened the inning with a triple that barely eluded center fielder Oscar Mercado. Nomar Mazara followed with a fly ball to shallow left center field. Mercado caught the ball on the run, but he had to throw across his body to the plate and Andrus was safe.
Andrus, who had hits in his first two at-bats, entered the game hitting .370 (101-for-273) in his career against the Indians. He has hit in 10 straight games against them.
Willie Calhoun opened the second with a double despite a diving effort by Jordan Luplow in left field. Civale walked Rougned Odor, but threw a called third strike past Logan Forsythe. He escaped when Isaih Kiner-Falefa hit into a 4-6-3 double play.
The Indians had two great scoring chances late in the game.
In the seventh, Luplow singled off Minor’s glove to start the inning.Jason Kipnis followed with a bunt hit to third. Franmil Reyes worked the count full before flying out to center. At least Reyes made contact after striking out six straight times going back to Sunday’s game.
Luplow stole third, but in doing so suffered a cramp in his right hamstring and had to be replaced by Tyler Naquin. None of those machinations bothered minor as he struck out Roberto Perez and convinced Francisco Lindor to hit into a force play at second.
In the ninth, Jose Ramirez started the inning with a double off Jose Leclerc. Naquin bunted him to third, but Kipnis grounded out to first and Reyes flied out to center.
Jesse Chavez and Leclerc threw a scoreless inning each in the shutout. The save was Leclerc’s seventh.
The Indians will send rookie right-hander Zach Plesac (6-3, 3.41) to the mound on Tuesday night against the Rangers. The Rangers will counter with right-hander Ariel Jurado (6-6, 4.92) with the game scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio and WLKR 95.3 FM will carry the game.
Plesac is coming off a win over the Astros and has won his last three starts. Jurado, who has never faced the Indians, is 2-3 with a 6.00 ERA in his last seven starts.