The AL Central first-place Indians are playing with

Associated Press Published:

The AL Central first-place Indians are playing with sky-high expectations and have lost six of seven. They lost three weekend games to the loose Texas Rangers, who are nine games under .500 and feeling good.

"There's a lot of expectations, high expectations put on this club," said Cleveland's Brian Giles, who homered in Sunday's 7-6 loss to Texas.

"We're not happy when we don't win. Everybody in the room feels that way. But we are still in first place and the main thing is to get into the postseason and go from there."

Giles said that fan expectations "are so high in this town. Even when you win it isn't enough. A win is not cherished like it was at one time."

Postseason isn't part of the locker room talk yet for the Rangers, who are 11 games back in the AL West.

Rangers manager Johnny Oates was satisfied after winning three of four from Cleveland in the series.

"We played very well here. After the first inning of the first game, we pitched very well. I'm pleased."

Juan Gonzalez of the Rangers thought his team's success at Jacobs Field had a message.

"You know what they say about the first-place teams playing clubs that are 10, 12 games out," said Gonzalez, who hit one of the Rangers' five solo home runs Sunday. "They better watch out. Teams that far back can play free and easy and let loose. That's what we are doing and playing great."

Warren Newson had two homers and Rusty Greer and Lee Stevens also homered for the Rangers. David Justice homered for Cleveland.

"Five solo homers. It's a little tough to win when you give up that many, even with nobody on base," Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove said.

Giles hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off John Wetteland. Omar Vizquel followed with a double, but Wetteland struck out Manny Ramirez for his 25th save.

"Brian Giles is hitting well. He's patient at the plate, drawing walks. He's doing a good job," Hargrove said.

Matt Whiteside (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

Newson was hitless in 11 at-bats since July 30. Six of Newson's last seven hits have been homers. Both of his homers came off Jeff Juden (0-1).

"I made an adjustment and it helped," Newson said. "They have been pitching me inside, so I backed off the plate and now the inside pitches look like they are over the plate. I hit the ball hard and put some elevation on it today, so they went out."

Juden was hit hard for the second straight start since being traded by Montreal to Cleveland on July 31. He allowed five runs in six innings, five days after lasting only 3 2/3 innings Tuesday in Detroit.

Gonzalez's homer was the 240th of his career tying him with Roberto Clemente at fourth among Puerto Rican ballplayers. Clemente was a boyhood idol of Gonzalez.

Tony Fernandez reached on an error by second baseman Mark McLemore in the Indians ninth and Giles hit his 15th homer.

Justice tied it at 4 with a three-run shot in the fifth off Scott Bailes. It was his 22nd homer and third in two games.

Texas' Tom Goodwin opened the game with a double, stole third and scored on a sacrifice fly by McLemore.

Greer then walked, stole second and scored on Stevens' single. Greer's 18th homer made it 3-0 in the third.

Texas starter Julio Santana allowed one unearned run on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings.

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