ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — With a seventh straight loss Monday night, the Texas Rangers’ playoff position is getting more tenuous.
“It’s pretty tough right now,” said shortstop Elvis Andrus after a 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
“Definitely things aren’t going our way. We’re tired, actually (of talking about it), but we’ve got to keep playing. That’s the only way we’ll get out of this.”
Texas remained a half-game ahead of Cleveland for the second AL wild-card spot.
Rookie Wil Myers homered and had three RBIs, Alex Cobb pitched eight solid innings, and the Rays took the lead for the first wild-card spot with a 6-2 victory.
Myers had a second-inning solo shot and hit a two-run double during a four-run fifth inning. Cobb (9-3) allowed two runs, six hits, one walk and had 10 strikeouts.
Matt Garza (9-6) gave up six runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings to lose his third straight start for the Rangers, who are 2-12 in September.
“I was falling behind in counts, and when you do that, obviously things aren’t going to go your way,” said Garza, who gave up five straight hits to his former team in a four-run fifth inning.
“It doesn’t matter who I’m against. It’s my team that I care about,” he said. “My job is to help us get to October and I’m still going to keep trying, keep pushing and get ready in five days. There’s no quick fixes, no easy answers.”
The big fifth inning left the Rays with a 6-2 lead, and Texas got only two men on base after that.
Texas had pulled even at 2 during the fifth when Mitch Moreland, mired in an 0 for 22 slide, doubled and scored on Ian Kinsler’s double. Kinsler was caught attempting to steal third to end the inning.
Cobb retired the first nine Rangers before Kinsler doubled to start the fourth. But after advancing to third on a sacrifice bunt by Andrus, Kinsler got tagged out during a rundown on Alex Rios’ grounder to third.
“He was just being Ian,” manager Ron Washington said of Kinsler’s base running misfortunes. “Cobb had sort of an odd delivery to the plate; (Kinsler) was just trying to maybe force a balk, but once he went down the line as far as he did, he should have kept going. He just reacted wrong.”
As for the losing streak that has put the Rangers’ season in jeopardy, Washington said he’s frustrated.
“I don’t think the dictionary or the encyclopedia or the thesaurus have the word I am right now,” he said. “I’m not frustrated, I’m confused. I’m trying to figure out what we have to do to jump-start this offense. It’s shown throughout the year that it’s capable; we just haven’t been able to get it done.”
The Rangers have not homered during the seven-game losing streak, and they have scored two runs or fewer in eight of their past 15 games.
“It’s either bad calls or we didn’t execute, something different every night,” Andrus said. “Maybe if we go out there and get a win, everything will change. In the end, it’s about trying to find a way to win a game. NOTES: Washington announced after the game that Alexi Ogando will start Tuesday night’s game against Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson. … The Rangers held a players only meeting before batting practice. … Texas DH Lance Berkman (left hip and right knee) was in the starting lineup for the first time in two weeks and went 0 for 4. … The Golf Channel’s Holly Sonders used a golf club from in front of the mound to hit a ball to the plate for the ceremonial first pitch.