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Published: Saturday, 5/24/2008

Rangers batter Tribe pitchers

ASSOCIATED PRESS
A Cleveland trainer examines Fausto Carmona, who hurt his left hip while covering first base in the third. He left the game. A Cleveland trainer examines Fausto Carmona, who hurt his left hip while covering first base in the third. He left the game.
TONY DEJAK / AP Enlarge

CLEVELAND - Jarrod Saltalamacchia called his first career grand slam "unbelievable."

Cleveland's Ben Francisco felt the same about the umpires missing his three-run homer.

Saltalamacchia's slam helped the Texas Rangers beat Cleveland 13-9 last night as the Indians lost their seventh in a row and pitcher Fausto Carmona to injury.

Plus, Francisco's apparent homer was ruled an RBI double.

The call was the latest in a recent string of botched home run calls by big league umpires that has prompted increasing cries for instant replay in baseball.

"I think every time something like this happens there is more conversation about it," said Indians manager Eric Wedge, who was ejected by crew chief Dale Scott for arguing.

TV replays showed Francisco's drive clearly hit a railing above the yellow home run line atop the left-field wall in the sixth inning. Still, third-base ump Damien Beal ruled the ball in play. The umpires soon huddled and upheld the call.

"It was big and definitely changes the way the game plays out," said Wedge, adding that he has not supported instant replay but is starting to change his mind.

"The puzzling thing was they all missed it when pretty much everybody in the stadium saw it," Francisco said. "Having those runs taken away hurt."

David Murphy hit a three-run double, and Ramon Vazquez had three of the Rangers' club-record nine two-base hits. Texas totaled 17 hits.

Saltalamacchia connected off Jorge Julio, who replaced Carmona during a seven-run third.

Carmona (4-2) strained his left hip covering first on a ball hit by Murphy to first baseman Ryan Garko. Carmona was slow to the bag, and Murphy beat it out for a single, putting runners on first and third with none out.

The right-hander, a 19-game winner a year ago who came in with a 2.25 ERA, threw one strike to Brandon Boggs, then backed off and called trainer Lonnie Soloff to the mound. Carmona flexed his left leg, threw one practice pitch, then walked off.

"We'll know more tomorrow," Wedge said. "He'll get an MRI, but he was not able to stay in the game, so obviously it is fairly serious."

Carmona allowed six runs, five hits, and three walks over two innings, snapping a streak of 32 consecutive games in which Cleveland starters worked at least five innings.

Julio walked the first two batters he faced, yielded

Saltalamacchia's slam, then consecutive doubles by Vazquez and Ian Kinsler and an infield single by Michael Young before striking out Josh Hamilton - and receiving a mock cheer from fans.

"It felt unbelievable," Saltalamacchia said. "I don't think I've hit one in my professional career. I might have hit one in high school."

A sacrifice fly by Milton Bradley made it 10-3. Julio finally got the third out when center fielder Grady Sizemore crashed into the wall to catch a drive hit by Murphy.

Sizemore's eighth homer, a three-run shot, pulled Cleveland to 11-6 in the bottom half.

Rangers starter Kason Gabbard walked six over 22/3 innings, allowing six runs and four hits.

Kameron Loe (1-0) pitched

22/3 innings for the win in his first outing since being recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma on Wednesday. The right-hander allowed four hits and one run.

Murphy's three-run double helped Texas take a 4-0 lead in the first. Murphy moved up on a groundout by Boggs and scored on a single by Chris Shelton to make it 4-0.

Francisco had an RBI double, and Travis Hafner scored on a wild pitch in the bottom half to make it 4-2.

Cleveland loaded the bases with none out in the second but got only one run - on Hafner's sacrifice fly to the warning track in center. Jamey Carroll had a two-run double off Eddie Guardado in the Indians' seventh to make it 12-9.



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