CLEVELAND -- After missing nearly the entire 2016 season and undergoing thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October, Rangers starter Tyson Ross made just his third start this season on Tuesday night, and it was the right-hander's strongest start since 2015.Although he was credited with a no-decision, Ross spun six scoreless
CLEVELAND -- After missing nearly the entire 2016 season and undergoing thoracic outlet syndrome surgery in October, Rangers starter Tyson Ross made just his third start this season on Tuesday night, and it was the right-hander's strongest start since 2015.
Although he was credited with a no-decision, Ross spun six scoreless innings and allowed just one run on two hits and a pair of walks to help the Rangers defeat the Indians, 2-1, at Progressive Field.
"He looked more like the 2015 Tyson Ross," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I thought as the game progressed, he was much sharper, much cleaner, more direction on the mound. It was his best outing thus far."
The only blemishes on Ross' line came on a leadoff single in the first by Jason Kipnis, a leadoff walk followed by an RBI single from Lonnie Chisenhall in the second and a leadoff walk in the third to Yan Gomes. Ross retired the final 12 batters he faced before handing the ball to reliever Jose Leclerc for the seventh.
"I kind of fell in a nice rhythm after a leadoff walk in the third," Ross said. Then Jose Leclerc came in to hold them at one right there."
Ross needed a strong start after he struggled in his previous outing on Wednesday, when he allowed nine runs on nine hits and three walks against the Blue Jays. On Tuesday, Ross -- who threw 98 pitches and struck out five -- found success by mixing his fastball with his slider.
"Tonight, we saw much better extension from the fastball-slider combo [than in his last outing]," Banister said. "The ability to mix [that combo] early for strikes -- he utilized the fastball to get them off it -- enough strikes to get these guys into swing mode."
Per Statcast™, Ross threw 57 sliders and 35 four-seam fastballs. It marked the most sliders Ross has thrown in a start since he threw 58 on July 2, 2015, with the Padres.
"I did a decent job tonight mixing pitches, changing speeds and just trying to stay out of the middle of the plate," Ross said.
"[Ross'] ball moves all over the place and I think he had a tough time finding the zone early," Indians bench coach Brad Mills said. "And then he was able to find enough strikes a little bit later to stay in the count and not get too far behind. The biggest was that his ball was moving and we just weren't able to square anything up."
Ross battled Indians starter Mike Clevinger for six frames before both teams turned to their bullpens. The Rangers ended up on top thanks to a solo home run in the top of the ninth by third baseman Adrian Beltre. Ross did not get the win on Tuesday, but he was happy with his results and hopes to build off this start going forward.
"Every time I'm on the mound I'm trying to get better and learn from that," Ross said. "So I'm not going to jump around and pick and choose days. Every time I have a ball in my hand, I'm trying to work to get better, learn from it and take something into the next day."
William Kosileski is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.