ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rangers’ offense surfaced briefly in the first inning Wednesday, then went back into the same hiding place it’s been occupying since the Oakland Athletics hit town.
The Rangers scored all of their runs in Wednesday’s 3-1 win in the first inning, on homers by David Murphy and Adrian Beltre. Then the Rangers had just one runner in scoring position the rest of the game.
“When you run across a pretty good pitching staff like the Oakland A’s, sometimes they make you look like you’re in a slump,” manager Ron Washington said. “But for one inning today we were able to do what we needed to do and we were able to hold on.”
In the previous series, the Rangers bashed the Detroit Tigers for 29 runs in four games. Against Oakland, the scoring slowed to a trickle with five runs in three games, including a 1-0 loss on Tuesday.
The offensive slowdown began Monday when the Rangers again couldn’t solve Oakland starter Bartolo Colon in a 9-2 loss.
Tuesday, the Rangers never had a runner in scoring position in managing just three hits in a loss to Oakland’s Dan Straily.
After being cooled by Colon and stymied by Straily, the Rangers offense was due for a course correction against Oakland’s Jarrod Parker, who was just 2-5 coming in.
The Rangers had not lost three games in a row all season, and still haven’t thanks to a first-inning eruption and some surprisingly good pitching from recent call-ups Ross Wolf and Neal Cotts.
It was Oakland’s pitching, however, that won the series, 2-1, and caused the Rangers to match their lowest three-game run total of the season. The Rangers also scored just five runs in three games April 10-12 (2-0 loss to Tampa Bay followed by a 4-3 win and a 3-1 loss at Seattle).
“Our offense is fine. Sometimes even the best in the business look like they’re slumping,” Washington said. “We’re not slumping. I think it was the Oakland A’s pitchers the past two days.”
The Rangers can take solace in that their own pitching held Oakland to just one run each of the last two games. The A’s offense feasted on Monday when another call-up, Josh Lindblom, made his starting debut.
Yu Darvish, who allowed only a solo home run to Yoenis Cespedes on Tuesday, was the only regular starter the A’s faced this series.
“They scored one run and one run,” Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski said, referring to Oakland. “Obviously the first game they scored some, but are they asking themselves the same thing [about the offense struggling]? Sometimes good pitching, you just run into it and the guys make good pitches and you go from there.”