ARLINGTON, Texas – Just when it looked like Scott Feldman was settling into a rhythm Tuesday night the fifth inning happened.
Feldman, who struck out the side in the fourth inning of a 1-1 game, ran into all kinds of trouble in the fifth. Neither he nor the Rangers could recover either as Baltimore scored four times in the fifth and went on to win 5-3.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Rangers and Texas is now 0-3 when it reaches 21-games over .500 this season.
The hole Feldman dug for the Rangers in the fifth was too big to overcome and he placed the blame squarely on himself.
Manny Machado’s nine-pitch at-bat ended with an RBI triple that put the Orioles up for good at 2-1. Feldman then couldn’t put away J.J. Hardy after getting ahead of him 1-2 and Hardy ended up getting an RBI double.
Then Feldman allowed a two-run homer to Nate McLouth. McLouth hadn’t hit a homer in the majors in more than a year but took advantage of a cutter that didn’t cut and his blast to right put the Orioles up 5-1.
A disappointed Feldman (6-9) has now lost his last three starts after he went five innings, allowing five runs on seven hits.
“I felt like I was so close to limiting the damage there and that’s all I was trying to do there was limit the damage and get our guys back in the dugout,” said Feldman, who also allowed a run to score in the first after a walk, an stolen base, an error and a wild pitch. “Even after giving up that hit to Hardy we’re still right in the game at 3-1 and I just made a bad pitch to McLouth. I felt great, even in the fifth, I felt great. It was just a matter of pitch selection or location, a couple of different at-bats are going to stick with me tonight.”
Feldman, who was the club’s player of the month in July, felt like the key at-bat was to Hardy. Hardy ended it by doubling to right. Three pitches later McLouth changed the game for good.
“I thought he (Feldman) made a real good pitch to Hardy and then he went down there and poked it to right field,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “I think if there’s any pitch he’d want to take back that inning, it would be the one to McLouth. Other than that, there was no indication they were going to put four runs on the board because those two guys, both he and (Chris) Tillman, were pitching very well.”
Unlike Feldman, Baltimore starter Chris Tillman had no problem with his location. He was able to strike out seven Rangers by using a high fastball. Six of the seven strikeouts came on fastballs up as Tillman allowed three runs in 6 2/3 innings.
That didn’t mean the Rangers didn’t have their chances to turn the game around. In the seventh, Texas scored twice off Tillman on a Geovany Soto homer. Former Rangers pitcher Darren O’Day came on and allowed a walk and a single to bring up Josh Hamilton with two outs.
Baltimore went to the bullpen for another former Ranger in Pedro Strop. Strop got Hamilton to chase a ball in the dirt on 3-1 and then caught a break when Hamilton blasted a hanging fastball foul to right. Strop then struck him out to end the inning.
That would be the story for a Texas offense that stranded seven runners.
“The fastball is a little sneaky out of his (Tillman’s) hand and it’s tough to tell where it’s going to end up vertically,” said outfielder David Murphy, who struck out on a fastball in the fifth. “That’s why a lot of guys were swinging at that high fastball. That’s a guy you need to see down in the zone. If it’s out of his hand up, it’s going to be at your neck by the time it gets to you.”