143846527 Damons Triple Helps Indians Beat Rangers 6 3

CLEVELAND, OH – MAY 4: Second baseman Ian Kinsler #5 of the Texas Rangers can’t get to a ground ball hit by Jack Hannahan (not shown) #9 of the Cleveland Indians during the seventh inning at Progressive Field on May 4, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND (AP) – Johnny Damon hit a two-run triple and Jeanmar Gomez pitched seven strong innings to lead the Cleveland Indians over the Texas Rangers 6-3 on Friday night.

Gomez (2-1) gave up seven hits and three runs as Cleveland won for the fourth time in five games. Texas has lost five of seven, but still leads the AL West.

Shin-Soo Choo and Jack Hannahan homered off Colby Lewis (3-1) to help Cleveland take an early lead.

Damon’s drive off the wall in center was nearly caught by Josh Hamilton, who returned to the Rangers’ lineup after missing three games because of a sore back.

Chris Perez pitched the ninth for his 10th consecutive save. He is perfect since blowing the save in the season opener April 5.

The game ended with Choo making a leaping catch at the right-field wall to snare a drive off the bat of pinch-hitter Adrian Beltre with a runner on first.

Damon, in his first home game since signing as a free agent with the Indians, went 1 for 4. His triple went over the head of Hamilton, who nearly made a sensational catch just as he crashed into the wall. Casey Kotchman and Hannahan scored as Damon got to third base and clapped his hands after putting Cleveland ahead 6-3.

Choo’s two-run homer made it 2-0 in the second. The 414-foot drive to center snapped an 0-for-14 slump and was Choo’s first homer since Aug. 23.

Texas, which had won 11 of its previous 12 games at Progressive Field, scored in the third. Mitch Moreland doubled to left and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Ian Kinsler. Damon got turned around on Moreland’s drive and managed to get a glove on it but couldn’t hold on at the wall.

Hannahan made it 3-1 in the bottom half with his second homer, which originally appeared to be a standup triple. His drive down the right-field line caromed off the wall and by the time right fielder Nelson Cruz tracked it down, Hannahan was standing on third.

Indians manager Manny Acta argued and home plate umpire Dale Scott and his crew went to look at TV replays, which showed the ball hit above the yellow line atop the wall. Scott came out and signaled homer, the crowd roared, and Hannahan trotted home.

David Murphy‘s RBI double in the fourth got Texas within 3-2.

The Rangers tied it in the sixth. Michael Young blooped a double to left, moved up on Murphy’s long fly ball to center and scored on Cruz’s single to left, which snapped an 0-for-14 slide.

Lewis allowed six runs and 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings, snapping his personal six-game winning streak dating to Sept. 9. That was the longest active streak in the AL.

Notes: Texas has lost three in a row for the first time since Aug. 23-25. … Rangers SS Elvis Andrus went 1 for 4. He has hit safely in all 24 of his career games against Cleveland. … Cleveland traded OF Ryan Spilborghs to the Rangers, who assigned him to Triple-A Round Rock. … Rangers manager Ron Washington pushed RHP Neftali Perez’s next start to Tuesday at Baltimore. Washington wants to keep the other starters, Lewis, Derek Holland, Yu Darvish and Matt Harrison on their regular turn. … Perez said the season-ending knee injury to Yankees closer Mariano Rivera won’t keep him from shagging fly balls during batting practice. “It’s a shame that’s how he got hurt, but it won’t stop me,” Perez said. “I love it. It makes me feel like a (regular) player.”