ARLINGTON, Texas — Good pitching can humble even a team of All-Stars. The Rangers were on the wrong end of proving that Sunday in a 3-1 loss to Oakland.
On the same day seven Rangers were named to the All-Star Game, Oakland lefty Travis Blackley (2-2) humbled them by allowing just one run in seven innings.
Throwing an efficient 93 pitches, Blackley helped his cause by picking off two baserunners – Elvis Andrus in the first and Yorvit Torrealba in the third – as the Rangers couldn’t get more out of eight hits.
“He really got me right there,” Andrus said. “I saw his body lean to home plate, that’s when I was shuffling and stuff, and he did really good. It was a tough pickoff.”
The pickoffs were more painful because the Rangers failed to draw a walk in the game, putting baserunners at a premium even with the eight hits.
“The funny thing is, I was asking Elvis what kind of move he had,” Torrealba said. “And a couple innings later he got me at first, too. Honestly, it looked like he balked, and I watched the replay and it was just a good move.”
The Rangers’ lone score came in the only inning they were able to get more than one hit. Ian Kinsler doubled with two outs in the third and scored on an Andrus single. However, Andrus made another baserunning error and was caught between first and second for the third out.
“We couldn’t really get anything going,” Kinsler said. “Same thing he (Blackley) tries to do every game, throws fastballs, changeups, curveballs, sliders. He’s got good stuff.”
Blackley outdueled Yu Darvish, who could be the Rangers’ eighth All-Star if he wins the fan vote for the final spot on the squad.
Darvish (10-5) has been struggling early in starts, but on Sunday he didn’t allow a hit the first three innings. Seth Smith led off the fourth with a double and scored. Then Jemile Weeks scored from third on an unusual wild pitch that bounced off the lower leg of plate umpire Manny Gonzales.
But the pitch that did the most damage was the leadoff home run Darvish allowed to Brandon Moss in the seventh to give Oakland a two-run lead.
“We were still in striking distance, and giving up that home run didn’t allow us that momentum,” Darvish said. “That was an unnecessary run that I gave up. I’m kind of disappointed about that.”
A crowd of 45,741 – the Rangers’s 25th selloutof the season – showed up on Snow Monkey night to cheer the star-studded hometown team. Instead, they got to see Oakland’s lone All-Star, Ryan Cook, get the save.
Even before the All-Star announcements earlier in the day, the Rangers had already locked up the series, their seventh in a row, by winning the first three games against the A’s. The loss snapped a five-game win streak overall, but the Rangers finished the homestand 7-3.
“We had our opportunities,” manager Ron Washington said. “We could have come through in some situations, it might have made a difference.”