Choice HR bails out Darvish, Texas tops Tribe 6-4
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Michael Choice delivered the home run that gave Yu Darvish a win the Texas ace couldn’t wrap up on his own.
Choice hit a tiebreaking homer in the seventh inning after Darvish blew a four-run lead and the Rangers snapped Cleveland’s six-game winning streak with a 6-4 victory over the Indians on Friday night.
The decisive shot from Choice came after his RBI single in a four-run second. A night earlier, he homered to give the Rangers another big early lead they couldn’t hold before going on to beat Baltimore.
“I feel like I started out kind of passive at the plate, trying to feel guys out,” said Choice, who is getting his first extensive time in the big leagues after an offseason trade brought him from Oakland. “And lately I’ve tried to be more aggressive and be not so picky at the plate.”
Choice went the opposite way just over the right field wall against Marc Rzepczynski (0-2) with two outs for a solo homer. The shot made a winner of Darvish (6-2) after the Japanese ace gave up a season-high nine hits in seven innings.
Texas reliever Jason Frasor got a nifty double play from Elvis Andrus in a scoreless eighth, and closer Joakim Soria had two strikeouts in the ninth for his 13th save.
Lonnie Chisenhall and Asdrubal Cabrera homered off Darvish to wipe out a 4-0 deficit, but the Indians followed a 6-0 homestand by starting a 10-game trip with their fifth straight road loss. They have the worst record in the majors away from home at 9-20.
Chisenhall hit the first three-run homer Darvish has allowed in his three big league seasons, a shot off the foul pole in right field in the third inning. The Indians pulled even an inning later on a solo shot to right by Cabrera, who had three hits.
“When you’re going against a guy like him who never gives in, his best stuff every night, the best stuff in the league, it’s a good feeling to answer back real quick and he’s not able to get comfortable,” Chisenhall said.
Trevor Bauer had retired 13 of the last 15 Rangers he faced without allowing a hit when Rzepczynski came on to face the left-handed Leonys Martin and struck him out. But Choice put the Rangers ahead on the next pitch.
Rzepczynski “was just trying to get ahead like he does and sink it,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “It just caught too much of the plate.”
Cleveland had a good chance to take the lead in the sixth after singles from Yan Gomes, his third of the game, and Carlos Santana. But Darvish got Mike Aviles and Michael Bourn on called strikes and Cabrera on a weak grounder back to him.
Darvish had eight strikeouts, and three of the four against Bourn.
“I think the strike zone was a little bit smaller today so I had to be creative,” Darvish said. “So I started throwing cut fastballs and sliders to throw the other hitters off.”
Bauer had all six of his strikeouts after giving up a two-run homer to Rougned Odor into the upper deck in right field in the second.
“He pitched behind a lot in the count to a lot of dangerous hitters, but he still competed,” Francona said.
NOTES: An eighth-inning single gave Andrus a hit in all 38 games of his career against Cleveland. It ties the second-longest streak for a player against the same opponent going back to 1914, according to STATS. Vladimir Guerrero had a 44-game streak for the Los Angeles Angels against Texas from 2004 to 2006. Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury had a 38-game streak against Baltimore from 2009 to 2012. Andrus’ streak started with his major league debut on April 6, 2009. ... Cleveland’s David Murphy was 0 for 3 with a walk in his first game in Texas since leaving as a free agent. He spent six-plus seasons with the Rangers, including both of the franchise’s World Series years in 2010 and 2011.