Rangers head to big series vs. Oakland after tough series
SEP 01, 2013 5:35p ET
The lowly Minnesota Twins took care of that with a 4-2 win Sunday.
Minnesota, which is 17 games under .500 and started a Sunday lineup with five players with 13 RBI or less and no one hitting better than .244, beat the Rangers for the second time in three days and took the season series.
The Rangers totaled six runs in the three-game series against a Minnesota staff that came into the game with the 10th best ERA in the American League.
Sunday's game was a head scratcher all around for a Texas team that will head to Oakland with its smallest lead since Aug. 19.
Texas got no production from the top of its order as the Leonys Martin, Jurickson Profar and Ian Kinsler combined to go 1 for 12 as the Rangers had nothing for Kevin Correia.
And even though the Rangers got a couple of sterling defensive plays from Jurickson Profar and Ian Kinsler, both also had plays that helped lead to Minnesota runs.
The offense and defense, plus the tough-luck pitching of Travis Blackley put an ugly end to a tough series for Texas.
Texas manager Ron Washington believes the play of the Twins had a lot to do with the struggles of the Rangers.
"I wish you could explain it," Washington said. "I think this series here you have to explain it by the way the Minnesota Twins pitched. They pitched well against us."
Well enough Sunday to the Rangers hitless with runners in scoring position at 0 for 5. Texas stranded a runner at third with one out in the third while leading 1-0. They had few opportunities after that as the only Texas runs came on solo homers from Mitch Moreland (third inning) an A.J. Pierzynski (eighth inning).
"He (Correia) threw a good game," Moreland said. "You've got to tip your hat. He used both sides of the plate and kept us off balanced. We really didn't create a whole lot of opportunities. I think we're good. Over the last month or so we've played pretty good ball. This series hasn't gone like we thought it would, but that's part of the game."
The fifth inning was part of the game too unfortunately for Blackley. Staked to a 1-0 lead, he allowed a leadoff single to Chris Colabello. Clete Thomas hit what should have been a double-play ball but Profar's throw to first was wild and Thomas ended up at second. Back-to-back doubles followed and the 1-0 lead was a 2-1 deficit. Alex Presley then made it a 3-1 game with a single.
That was enough offense for Minnesota and also ended the day for Blackley, who threw a season high 81 pitches to get 13 outs.
"I just kept trying to stick to the game plan and kept trying to get them to hit it and it fell their way," Blackley said. "I'm just disappointed I couldn't go deeper. They made me work pretty good today. It was pretty tough conditions. It just fell their way."
The Rangers will head to Oakland with a bullpen boost as Neftali Feliz, who hadn't pitched for Texas since last May, made his return to the mound 13 months after having Tommy John surgery.
Feliz, who came on for Blackley in the fifth, struck out two and allowed just one single in his 1 2/3 innings.
"I felt great," said Feliz, whose fastball hit 96 on the stadium scoreboard. "I tried to throw my ball down and keep my pitches down and I had a good result. I wasn't nervous. I was comfortable to be on the mound and to try and help the team win. I tried to use every pitch and get a good result."
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