ARLINGTON, Texas – The Rangers played at times like their minds were still on an All-Star break in Friday’s 3-1 loss to the Orioles.
Misplays in the field, baserunning mistakes and an 0-for-10 night with runners in scoring position played big roles in the Rangers’ first game since the break. It was hardly the fast start to the season’s second half they were looking for.
“Whatever it is, we didn’t get it done,” third baseman Adrian Beltre said. “We were leaving guys on base, we messed up a couple of plays on the field, running the bases. Whatever it is we have to fix it, come back tomorrow and try to win the game.”
Beltre was among the more frustrated hitters with an 0-for-4 performance, although he was robbed of a home run in the fourth. The Orioles’ Nick Markakis made a leaping catch of Beltre’s drive over the right field wall – a sign that things weren’t going the Rangers’ way.
Other signs: The late stop sign that third base coach Gary Pettis put up in the sixth inning, causing Jeff Baker to get caught scrambling back to the bag.
Baker, who was 2-for-5 in his first game back from the disabled list, was initially waved home by Pettis as he advanced from first on Craig Gentry’s double.
“I see him waving me and then I hit the bag,” Baker said. “And then he put up the stop sign and I tried to get back to base as fast as I could.”
Rangers manager Ron Washington didn’t want to assess blame.
“I’m not going to question that,” Washington said. “If I say what I think, I throw somebody under the bus. It was just a play we messed up. It’ll get better.”
The Rangers also gave up a run with defensive miscues in the fifth inning. Baltimore’s Manny Machado was credited with an infield hit when first baseman Mitch Moreland couldn’t dig out a throw from second base.
Machado scored when the next batter, Markakis, doubled on a ball that converted left fielder Jurickson Profar probably could have fielded. The ball landed just out of the reach of diving center fielder Craig Gentry.
“Gentry came a long way for that ball and I think at the last minute he thought Profar would get there,” Washington said.
Offensively, the Rangers wasted a leadoff double in the fifth by Ian Kinsler, who was stranded at third. Kinsler was stranded at third again in the seventh after a one-out double.
The Rangers got their lone run in the fourth when Baker scored on a sac fly by Gentry, but that wasn’t nearly enough support for starter Derek Holland.
Holland went eight fairly strong innings while giving up six hits, including a second-inning homer to Matt Wieters.
Holland was also punished by walking No. 9 hitter Brian Roberts to start the third inning. Roberts eventually scored to give Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen all the support he would need.
“He [Holland] was terrific,” Beltre said. “He gave up a couple of big hits for them, one big fly home run, but other than that he gave us eight innings, three runs. If he can do that every time out we’ll take it.”
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski hit third for the Rangers in place of All-Star Nelson Cruz, who sat out with a migraine headache. Pierzynski came up with a runner on base in every appearance and was 0-for-4.
However, Pierzynski was robbed of an RBI in the first inning when his line drive that landed on the right field line was ruled foul.
Yeah, it was frustrating but at the same time, those days happen,” Pierzynski said. “I don’t think that [the All-Star break] has anything to do with it. Their guy made pitches when he had to and unfortunately we didn’t get the hit we needed.”