ARLINGTON, Texas — There was no finger pointing with the Texas Rangers following their 5-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox Wednesday night.
Unless you count Rangers pointing fingers at themselves.
Texas manager Ron Washington said he should have pulled starter Nick Tepesch in the seventh inning with a left-hander ready to face lefty Alejandro De Aza in a 3-2 game. Instead he stuck with Tepesch and De Aza broke the game open with a two-run homer.
Of course the Rangers wouldn’t have had only two runs if Geovany Soto would have gotten a better read off a second-inning liner by Ian Kinsler that hit off the wall. But instead of scoring to break a 2-2 tie, Soto stopped at third and was eventually stranded there, denying the Rangers the opportunity for a big inning against Chicago left-hander Chris Sale.
And with Sale pitching well, it didn’t take many mistakes to derail a chance at a victory. The Rangers had at least two too many.
They realized that too.
“It was a bad decision by me,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington of not going to left-hander Joseph Ortiz in the seventh inning. “I just stayed with Tepesch one batter too long. I should have gone to Ortiz but I didn’t. I’ll take the blame for that one.”
Tepesch, making just his fifth big-league start, had earned Washington’s trust by rebounding from a rough start by keeping the White Sox scoreless after allowing two runs over the first two innings. But that changed after Conor Gilaspie homered off Tepesch to open the seventh and break a 2-2 tie. He allowed a one-out single before retiring Dewayne Wise to bring up De Aza.
“My intentions were to go get him,” Washington said. “I decided I’m going to let him go on and see if he can get out of this inning. It didn’t work. It’s just a bad decision on my part.”
Soto had a bad decision of his own to fess up to in the second inning.
Down 2-0, the Rangers got something going against Sale (3-2) when Jeff Baker blasted a one-out homer to left. That seemed to spark the offense as Mitch Moreland walked, Soto singled and Craig Gentry singled to load the bases.
Kinsler followed with a liner deep to left that just missed going for a grand slam and instead hit high off the wall. Moreland easily scored but Soto hesitated when the ball was hit and had to remain at third. Sale then recovered by striking out Elvis Andrus and getting Lance Berkman to hit into a force play.
If Soto would have scored, the inning could have been much different.
“I read that ball bad,” Soto said. “I thought it was going to topspin and I just judged it really bad. I should have scored on that play. We’re human. We make mistakes but definitely I should have done a better job on that ball.”
Those two plays were huge but the Rangers had other chances to alter the outcome of the game. Even though Soto didn’t score on that play, the Rangers still left the bases loaded in the second.
Texas also had runners on first and second with no outs in the eighth inning but failed to score as Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy couldn’t come up with the big hit.
The Rangers stranded nine baserunners and went 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position. That can’t happen against Sale, who is now 3-0 against the Rangers.
“We’re getting guys out there,” said Baker, who has homered in consecutive games. “Outside of last night, the last three or four games we’re not getting the big hit, getting guys in. We’re letting pitchers off the hook when we can kind of put them away and go for the jugular. Hopefully the next couple of days we’ll do a better job of kind of kicking them when they’re down.”