SAN FRANCISCO — The Texas Rangers limped their way to a 4-6 West Coast road trip.
After Sunday’s 5-0 victory over San Francisco, a key member of the team is limping his way back to Texas.
The Rangers ended the 10-game trip by winning a series against the Giants but might have lost right-hander Alexi Ogando in the victory.
Ogando strained his right groin running to first base in the fourth inning and will have an MRI Monday in Texas. Ogando had a no-hitter through three innings at the time before he was forced to exit the game.
Despite the injury, the Rangers showed some resiliency by getting six shutout innings from their bullpen to end the trip on a winning note.
“We’re going to continue to scratch and continue to claw and continue to do whatever we have to do until we get back to playing the kind of baseball we know we’re capable of doing,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Sometimes that’s what you have to do in the game. I wish it would all work out perfectly for you, but it doesn’t. Then you begin to find out the character of your ballgame. I sort of know the character of mine. We’re going to play.”
The bullpen had Ogando’s back after he came out of the game. The Rangers ended up scoring two runs in the top of the fourth after Ogando’s bunt single. That was more than enough support for the Texas relief staff as Robbie Ross, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan combined to complete the second shutout of the series for the Rangers.
Texas didn’t allow a hit until Aubrey Huff doubled to left with one out off Ross in the sixth inning. Ross got Gregor Blanco to hit into a double play to end that inning after Blanco rounded first and was caught by Adrian Beltre trying to get back.
Texas pitchers allowed just three hits with Ross pitching a season high four innings while improving to 6-0. Ross, who could start for Ogando next weekend if he goes on the disabled list, threw 45 pitches and struck out two.
“I was just hoping to stay in there as long as I could,” Ross said. “I was just trying to throw strikes and keep the team in the game. That’s pretty much what I was hoping for the most. I was wanting Ogando to keep going to get that (a no-hitter) which was pretty sweet.”
The Rangers were hoping to get about 60 pitches out of Ogando. He was sailing along through three innings, retiring all nine batters he faced on just 39 pitches.
One-out singles by Mitch Moreland and Craig Gentry brought Ogando to the plate in the fourth inning. His sacrifice bunt attempt got by Tim Lincecum (2-7) and Ogando tried to beat the throw. He did it successfully but felt pain in his groin running down the line.
“Right now it feels pretty bad,” Ogando said. “Right now I don’t know the extent of the damage. I feel bad the way we need pitching right now, the state that we’re in. I feel bad for that. It’s the kind of things that happens in baseball.”
Ogando is the third starting pitcher the Rangers have lost to injury since mid-May, joining Neftali Feliz and Derek Holland. The Rangers can weather that storm if they produce offensively.
They showed some signs of that Sunday as Texas had 11 hits and went 4 for 12 with runners in scoring position. The Rangers got contributions from everywhere in the lineup as nine players had hits.
Ian Kinsler’s two-run double in the fourth was the key shot as it put Texas up 3-0. Josh Hamilton, who had two RBIs in the first nine games of the trip, had two Sunday on a two-run double in the sixth inning.
Now the Rangers have to hope they’ve started to find their stride as they return to Arlington for 16 of the next 19 games.
“For sure it was a great win for us, a solid game defensively and offensively,” said shortstop Elvis Andrus, who went 1 for 5 and scored two runs. “We’ve got a day off tomorrow, and we’re going to play for a good stretch at home the next two or three weeks. I think as a team we’re getting close to getting back in our game, and today was a great game for us to get a day off and then come back.”