ARLINGTON, Texas – It was an historic day for Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish and A’s starter Bartolo Colon, but neither record is one the Rangers will boast about in next year’s media guide.
Rather, it was the Rangers’ recent history of failing to score runs that permeated Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Oakland.
It was a loss that left manager Ron Washington exasperated, and the Rangers all but out of the American League West race.
“I’ve told them everything I can tell them,” Washington said after watching his team collect just four hits. “Just got to go out there and in some situations when they present themselves, get it done. We’re just not getting it done.”
The Rangers were 0-4 with runners in scoring position and struck out eight times.
Colon mastered the Rangers, again, for eight innings and became the first pitcher to collect 20 wins against Texas in his career.
Meanwhile, Darvish joined an exclusive club of pitchers to have lost four 1-0 games in a season. The only other American League pitchers to do so: Chicago’s Billy Pierce in 1955 and Washington’s Walter Johnson in 1916.
Darvish gave up a walk and a double for a first-inning run, then pitched six more innings of shutout baseball. Darvish struck out 10 for the 12th time this season but hasn’t recorded a win since Aug. 12.
“Obviously, as a pitcher you can’t control how many runs we score,” Darvish said. “Am I going to go in the lineup and help the lineup? I won’t be able to help the lineup. Those guys are trying their best. I respect all of them.” The Rangers’ best scoring opportunity came during a two-out rally in the fourth. With runners at second and third, Mitch Moreland produced one of his three strikeouts on the day to extend an 0-for-21 slump.
“We’re doing everything we can do,” Washington said. “We’re working every day, we’re going through video, we’re doing everything we can do. Once those guys step in the box, they’re on their own.”
The Rangers have lost five straight, their second-longest losing streak of the season, and six straight at home.
They’ve lost 11 of their last 14 overall and are in the middle of their longest homerless drought of the season at five games.
But it wouldn’t take a home run to pump some life back into the offense. “Base hit,” Washington said. “That’s what it is, just need a base hit. I think I’ve been saying that for almost two weeks.”
Two weeks – 15 games – is about what the Rangers have left to keep their postseason hopes alive. At game’s end the Rangers dropped 5.5 games behind Oakland in the AL West race. Pending the night’s results, the Rangers held a half-game lead for the first Wild Card spot and a 2-game lead for the second Wild Card berth.
“From now on, every game is a must-win situation,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “That’s the way we have to face it. We cannot take anything for granted. We’ve got to go out there and do it.”
The Rangers have to win Sunday to avoid getting swept by Oakland. The Rangers and A’s will meet for the last time Sunday with the season series tied at 9-9.
The goal of winning the division has been replaced by the more immediate goal of just winning, period.
“We’re for sure going to try to go for the division, that’s what we all want,” Andrus said. “Wild card? We don’t want a wild card. We’re going to do what we have to do, whatever is possible to go out and try to execute, and at least get back and start winning games.”