CLEVELAND -- With a rash of injuries coming at the start of the season, the Rangers are fielding one of the youngest lineups in baseball. But despite the relative anonymity of some of its hitters, Texas' up-and-comers came through in the biggest situations on Tuesday.In place of injured All-Star starters
CLEVELAND -- With a rash of injuries coming at the start of the season, the Rangers are fielding one of the youngest lineups in baseball. But despite the relative anonymity of some of its hitters, Texas' up-and-comers came through in the biggest situations on Tuesday.
In place of injured All-Star starters Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jurickson Profar picked up a combined six hits, and back-to-back 12th-inning home runs from Joey Gallo and Kiner-Falefa propelled the Rangers over the Indians, 8-6, at Progressive Field.
"I'm thinking that thing where it's like, 'Who's on first, what's on second, I don't know [who] is on third,'" Gallo said. "Who are these guys? But they're coming up and contributing. They're doing great things like Kiner did today. That's what it's about."
Profar has filled in admirably at shortstop while Andrus recovers from a fractured right elbow, and Tuesday was Profar's biggest offensive day of the season. He laced an RBI double to left field in the fifth inning to extend the Rangers' lead to 2-0, and he added a two-run double in the seventh before scoring on Nomar Mazara's home run. It was Profar's first career three-RBI game and just his second game with two doubles.
Kiner-Falefa has played across the infield in place of Beltre and second baseman Rougned Odor, and Tuesday was also Kiner-Falefa's best game of the year. Although his two-out hits in the second, fourth and 10th didn't result in runs or RBIs, his 12th-inning homer gave the team valuable breathing room.
"Well, we're watching them grow up right in front of our eyes," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "That's the beauty of having these guys. Our development staff has done a great job with a number of these guys. … I think they're growing in their confidence and their ability to put those at-bats together every day."
The Rangers needed extra-innings heroics because closer Keone Kela gave up a game-tying grand slam in the ninth. With two outs, the hard-throwing righty hung a 0-2 curveball, which Michael Brantley launched into the right-field stands. But Kela was very positive knowing that his teammates -- many of whom he has played with in the Minors since being drafted -- would have his back.
"This isn't the first time that these guys have picked me up," Kela said. "They've picked me up multiple times in my career. We've played with each other since 2012, and I hope they can pick me up for the next eight to nine years in this game. Because if they are, that means I'm doing something right and they're collectively doing something right."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Gallo showing range: Gallo hasn't played much outfield this year, but he made his mark in the third inning with an outstanding run-saving grab -- his best catch of the young season. With a runner on third and two outs, Jason Kipnis sliced a liner to left field that look destined for extra bases. However, Gallo was able to cover 45 feet in 3.4 seconds and make a diving, three-star catch on a ball with a 52-percent catch probability.
"It was kind of tough to see, because of all of those shadows and the sun," Gallo said. "I'm just running after it like, 'Man, I don't know if I'm going to get to this.' And then, kind of at the last second, I'm like, 'Wow, I'm a lot closer than I thought I was going to be with this ball.'
"I just dove out and didn't even know I caught it until I landed and looked in my glove and said, 'Whoa, I actually caught that ball.' I haven't had many balls to do that to, but I think my length kind of helped me out on that one, my wingspan. That was definitely a big play to save a run and keep it even." More >
Fister owns the Indians ... again: Starter Doug Fister has long been the Indians' nemesis -- he's faced them more than any other team -- with a career 3.02 ERA in 20 starts over 131 1/3 innings against Cleveland. The veteran's previous start against the Tribe was a one-hit complete game, and Fister held a 1.83 ERA over 10 starts against them from 2011-12 when he pitched for the Tigers. Tuesday was no different, as Fister tossed 6 2/3 innings without giving up an earned run.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Jake Diekman had a painful moment against the third batter he saw. With one out in the eighth, Edwin Encarnacion lined a comebacker at 112.2 mph that hit Diekman right above the elbow and in the back, and it deflected straight to first baseman Ronald Guzman for an out. Amazingly, Diekman was able to stay in the game, although he walked Yonder Alonso and was removed for a righty-on-righty matchup.
Diekman didn't think the injury would cost him serious time, and he didn't even realize the ball hit him in the arm until he saw bruising after the game. The left-hander was able to take things in stride, though, especially after seeing the replay of how he got hit.
"It's like a deer going down," Diekman said. "Yeah, that was not too fun."
The Rangers are the first team to hit back-to-back home runs in extra innings this season; four clubs did so in 2017. The last time the Rangers accomplished the feat was on June 25, 2009, when Chris Davis and David Murphy went deep against the D-backs.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Fister nearly got into trouble in the first inning with Francisco Lindor's leadoff double, but he escaped the jam with some nifty defense and replay fortune. After Lindor advanced to third on a ground out, Fister grabbed a comebacker from Jose Ramirez and was savvy enough to catch Lindor in a run-down. The umpires initially ruled that Lindor actually evaded a tag from catcher Robinson Chirinos, but the replay official overturned the call in 37 seconds.
Matt Moore made his most recent start nine days ago, when he held the Blue Jays to three runs over five innings. He threw an inning of relief in mop-up duty on Sunday and faced the minimum. On Wednesday against Indians ace Corey Kluber at 12:10 p.m. CT, Moore will look to record an out in the sixth inning for the second time in five starts.
Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com.