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Scary return: Indians starter Mike Clevinger OK after spill in return from IL, but shows rust in loss to Rangers

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    A member of the Cleveland Indians staff checks on starting pitcher Mike Clevinger, who fell while coming off the mound on a ground ball during a game against the Texas Rangers in Arlington, Texas, on Monday, June 17, 2019. Clevinger continued playing in the game.



ARLINGTON, Texas — The Indians finally got to see Mike Clevinger back on the mound Monday night in a 7-2 loss to the Texas Rangers.

What they didn’t want to see was Clevinger in pain on the ground next to the mound.

“One, it was nice seeing him out there,” Indians manager Terry Francona said. “Two, he scared the heck out of us when he went down. It was nice to see him back competing. As he gets reps under his belt, he’ll build up, he’ll refine his pitches and he’ll be OK.”

Clevinger (1-1) struck out seven and walked three, while allowing his first five runs of the season in his first start since April 7. He threw 12 scoreless innings with 22 strikeouts his first two starts before missing more than two months because of a muscle strain in his upper back.

The concerning moment came in the second inning when Clevinger came off the mound on a grounder. The lanky right-hander immediately took pressure off his left ankle and dropped to the ground after an initial awkward step.

“It’s definitely scary, especially just coming off the DL, or IL,” Clevinger said. “It was pretty sticky and then I kind of finished up across my body. And then went to take off and my foot stayed into the ground. The X-rays came back good.”

Meanwhile, Lance Lynn was doing what he’s been doing throughout his first season with the Texas Rangers — throwing another quality start.

Lynn (8-4) allowed one run over seven innings, while striking out nine without a walk. The veteran right-hander has gone at least six innings in 10 consecutive starts, allowing three runs or fewer in the last eight.

“He gives me a little bit of a breather as far as like having to worry about what we’re going to get,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “He’s just consistent in his performance every single time he’s out there.”

Danny Santana hit a two-run homer after Willie Calhoun’s two-out walk in the fourth.

Clevinger was done after consecutive two-out walks in the fifth. Elvis Andrus doubled on reliever Tyler Clippard’s second pitch to make it 5-1.

Francisco Lindor and Oscar Mercado hit solo homers for Cleveland. Lindor’s 12th homer, in the fifth, was the only run off Lynn.

Santana, the switch-hitting utility player, started in right field with Nomar Mazara out for the second game in a row with right hamstring tightness. He singled in the sixth for his third consecutive multihit game, then scored from second base on a wild pitch by Tyler Olson that ricocheted off the brick backstop toward the Rangers dugout.

“He did it all today, everything was kind of on display,” Woodward said. “I can’t say enough about the kid. He’s so good for us in so many ways.”

Bauer honored

Indians pitcher Trevor Bauer was named AL Player of the Week for the first time in his career Monday.

The right-hander went 1-0 in two starts to win the award, while allowing just one run in 16 2/3 innings with 14 strikeouts. His ERA for the week was 0.54.

Bauer, who pitched his first shutout in an 8-0 win over the Tigers on Sunday with eight strikeouts and no walks, led all MLB pitchers in innings for the week and held opponents to a .175 batting average.

He’s the first Indian to win the award since Jose Ramirez last season (July 9-15) and the Indians first pitcher since Corey Kluber in 2017 (Sept. 11-17).

Stadium dinged

The stadium sustained minor damage during heavy storms Sunday. The National Weather Service confirmed an F1 tornado with winds of 95 mph touched down briefly nearby. It was unclear if the tornado was responsible for the damage that included wind screens ripped away and some roof damage above some upper left-field seats that were unoccupied Monday night. The team said there was no damage at its new ballpark being built across the street.

Short hops

Texas scored all of its runs with two outs.

** The Rangers (39-33) are six games above .500, matching their highest mark this season.

** Lindor has a six-game hitting streak and has reached base in 20 of his last 22 games.

Trainer’s room

INDIANS: To clear a roster spot for Clevinger, left-handed pitcher Josh Smith was optioned to Triple-A Columbus and Kluber was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day injured list. Kluber has been cleared for strengthening activities, but it is still uncertain when he will resume throwing.

RANGERS: Outfielder Joey Gallo (left oblique strain), out since June 2, is set to go to the team’s spring training complex in Arizona today to continue his rehab. He was scheduled to be there Monday, but worked out in Texas after his flight got canceled.

** Outfielder Hunter Pence (right groin strain) was put on the 10-day injured list, and Calhoun was activated from the IL.

Up next

INDIANS: In his last start, rookie right-hander Zach Plesac (1-2, 2.92 ERA) became the first Indians pitcher ever to allow homers to the first two batters of a home game.

RANGERS: Righty Adrian Sampson (5-3) was without a big league victory before going 5-0 with a 3.19 ERA his last six games (three starts).

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