David Murphy’s fingerprints were all over the Indians 12-2 blowout win over the Texas Rangers Friday at Progressive Field – in some really good ways and a few head-scratching ways as well.
Against his former team, the first-year Indians right fielder went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI and threw a runner out at the plate on a perfect one-hop throw that ended a promising second inning for the Rangers without a run scoring.
But Murphy also was tagged out on an odd fielder’s choice play in the bottom of the inning on some ill-advised base running. In addition, Murphy was charged with an error when he fumbled a double off the bat of Robinson Chirinos in the corner, allowing him to take third.
The error led to Texas’ first run in the fifth inning, as Chirinos came around to score on Roughned Odor’s ground out. The Rangers added a late run in the ninth inning against Indians starter-turned-reliever Carlos Carrasco.
But Murphy’s miscues couldn’t spoil the Tribe’s fun on this night as the rest of the offense got into the hitting spirit and pounded the Rangers pitching staff for 12 runs on 16 hits en route to the big win that featured a six-run fifth inning.
The Indians didn’t waste time getting to Rangers starter Jerome Williams, battering the big right-hander for 10 of their runs on 13 and three walks in just four-plus inning. This, without Williams allowing a single home run.
But even with Williams out of the game, the Tribe’s batsmen kept at it, adding two more runs against the Rangers bullpen. That included a run against Rangers’ rookie reliever Phil Klein, who dished up a Lonnie Chisenhall leadoff home run in the sixth inning.
Klein marks just the 11th pitcher to make it to the major leagues from Youngstown State University.
After a scoreless second inning, Murphy led off the third with his first double that easily could have been called an error, as the gift hit bounced off the glove of a Rangers defender. But the balance was soon restored when Murphy was tagged on a fielder’s choice with an ill-advised example of base running to cap his wacky inning.
The Tribe tacked on two more runs to make it three unanswered runs when Mike Aviles, Michael Brantley and Carlos Santana reached on three consecutive singles. Santana’s base hit scored Aviles. Brantley scored on double play ball off the bat of Chisenhall.
The Tribe added two more runs in the fourth with two outs. An Aviles ground ball through the right side scored Murphy and Brantley followed with his third hit of the night (3-for-4, two RBI) – a RBI hit that increased the Tribe’s lead to 5-0.
Already leading by four runs, the Indians loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth inning against Williams, whose night mercifully ended after a Yan Gomes RBI single and Murphy’s two-run double that handed the Tribe an 8-1advantage before even getting into the Rangers bullpen.
Lost among all the offense was an impressive win by right-hander Danny Salazar, who limited the Rangers to an unearned run on four hits and three walks over six innings.