Rangers lose another ugly one to Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. — The Texas Rangers didn’t rise to the top of the American League West by playing the kind of baseball they did Saturday night.
They won’t stay there much longer if they continue to play that way either.
Texas lost its fourth consecutive game by helping the Los Angeles Angels to a 3-2 victory.
The Texas lead in the West is down to 3 ½ games over the Angels. That’s the smallest lead the Rangers have had since May 6.
It didn’t have to be that way Saturday night and the list of what went wrong is long.
Texas committed three errors in another bad night of defense. Offensively the Rangers had just eight hits and hit into a season-high four double plays. An apparent missed call by home-plate umpire Tim McClelland didn’t help matters, allowing the Angels to score a second run in the pivotal seventh inning.
At least there’s no finger pointing in the Texas clubhouse because there’s plenty of blame to go around.
“So much happened out there that was totally uncharacteristic of what we are,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “It just opened an opportunity up for the Rangers to put some runs on the board. We didn’t die. We kept going. We have to get back to playing Texas Rangers baseball.”
That’s been missing lately and that was the focus of a postgame meeting.
“We’re not playing our style of baseball and that’s what it gets back to,” said Michael Young, who went 2 for 3. “We’ve been together a long time. We’ve been through a lot together. There’s no sense of frustration but at the same time we do want to make sure we’re back to our style of baseball.”
Despite everything that had gone wrong for the Rangers, they game was tied at 1 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Erick Aybar’s infield single that Yu Darvish couldn’t come up with started a bad inning. Darvish struck out Bobby Wilson for the first out and got a grounder from Mike Trout that should have been a second out.
But on the grounder to Elvis Andrus, Andrus thought the Ball hit Aybar in the front of his jersey, which would have meant he was out. Andrus fielded the ball but instead of throwing out Trout, he held it. Third-base umpire Marvin Hudson ruled the ball didn’t hit Aybar and the Angels had runners on the corners for Alberto Callaspo.
Callaspo singled off Darvish to make it a 2-1 game and end Darvish’s night.
Andrus said he could have thrown Aybar out at third or gotten Trout at first. But instead of waiting for the umpire to make the call that never came. He’ll know better next time.
“That’s the first time that kind of play happened to me in my career,” Andrus said. “Wash talked to me about it. I realize that’s true. I’ve got to continue that play and then argue about it. I saw it hit the guy and he (Hudson) didn’t see it. There’s nothing else I can do.”
Unfortunately for the Rangers, the inning didn’t end as Kendrys Morales hit a fly ball to Nelson Cruz in right. Cruz threw home to try and get Trout at the plate and his throw beat the runner but McClelland called Trout safe. Replays were inconclusive and Yorvit Torrealba was ejected for throwing his equipment.
McClelland said after the game that he thought Trout’s foot crossed the plate before Torrealba tagged him. Torrealba wasn’t so sure.
“I thought he was out,” Torrealba said. “I thought the throw beat him. I tried to block the plate. I don’t think he (McClelland) was in the right position to tell if he was out or safe. In a close game like that I’m an emotional player and I went off. I know I tagged him for a fact. By the time I tried to tag him, I don’t think he was even in a slide yet.”
The bottom of the sixth ended up looking good after what happened in the seventh. But it was awful at the time as the Angels scored the game’s first run without a ball getting out of the infield.
Albert Pujols hit a popup to start the inning but Mike Napoli couldn’t catch it and Pujols wound up on second after the second error on the night by Texas. It wouldn’t be the last. Pujols moved to third on a steal as Morales struck out. Mark Trumbo then hit a grounder to Adrian Beltre at third. Beltre, who went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts, could have made a play at the plate or first but instead dropped the ball, allowing Pujols to score and Trumbo to reach.
That was the only unearned run the Rangers allowed Saturday but three of the seven scored by Los Angeles in the series are unearned and the Rangers are tied for the most unearned runs allowed in the majors at 30. Twenty seven of them have come since May 1. Not surprisingly, the Rangers are 14-16 in that stretch.
As bad as everything went, Texas still had its chances. The Rangers tied the game at 1 in the seventh on a David Murphy sacrifice fly. They made it a 3-2 game in the eighth on an error by the Angels.
Even the ninth, loading the bases against Ernesto Frieri with two outs for Josh Hamilton. But Hamilton struck out to put a frustrating end to a night in which the Rangers were 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
“Things happen in the game of baseball but it’s been happening to us a little too often and we certainly have to put a stop to it,” Washington said. “It was a very ugly performance and we only lost the game by one run. We pride ourselves in playing defense. It was the defense that killed us out there tonight. That’s something we got to get back to playing and playing very consistently.”
The biggest positive the Rangers can take from Saturday is the pitching performance of Yu Darvish. He pitched 6 1/3 innings of five-hit ball and allowed just two earned runs. Washington said he deserved a better fate.