Not even Kinsler’s return can help Texas offense

ARLINGTON, Texas – Offensive catalyst Ian Kinsler was back to provide a much-needed spark to a struggling Texas Rangers offense Saturday.

Unfortunately for the Rangers, Saturday’s game against Toronto was once again filled with a lot more smoke than fire and very little of anything else.

Texas did manage to snap a 21-inning scoreless drought but that was all it did as the Blue Jays dumped the Rangers 6-1 for the club’s fifth-consecutive loss. Texas has now lost 10 of its 14 games this month and is averaging just 2.6 runs per game this month.

Unlike the first two games in the series, in which the Rangers scored a total of one run, they had scoring chances Saturday against R.A. Dickey.

Cashing those chances in was another story as the Rangers missed out on scoring opportunities by going 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position. And because the way things are going for the club, the one hit with a RISP didn’t net the Rangers a run.

“It’s just simple baseball, getting base hits with runners in scoring position,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “It’s not just been one part of the lineup; it’s been up and down the lineup. I think we had more opportunity today that we have given ourselves in the past four or five days. It’s just a matter of time. I wish it was today. It just didn’t happen.”

The 13 runners left in scoring position equaled the total the team had in the last four games combined. But opportunity did not equal results as Texas left a runner on second in the third inning, the bases loaded in the fourth inning, two men on in the fifth inning and two more in the sixth inning when the game was still in doubt.

The lone Texas run came in the sixth inning on a fielder’s choice grounder from Leonys Martin, which made it a 4-1 game. Texas hadn’t scored a run since the second inning Thursday, their longest scoreless drought since they went 25 innings between runs in September of 2009.

Texas had nine hits, pushing its streak to games with 10 hits or less to 14, the longest streak of that sort by the team since 1988.

“The bottom line is we’re still not quite there yet,” said David Murphy, who went 1 for 3 and is now hitting .210. “We’re all competitors. We all get frustrated when things don’t go our way and they definitely haven’t. I think the key is to not let that frustration mount.”

That’s becoming a tall task as the five-game slide is the longest for the team since last July and the five-game losing streak in Arlington the longest since Sept. 13-19, 2009.

Once again, the Rangers didn’t get awful starting pitching, but Josh Lindblom did make the mistake of giving up four runs. That’s more than the Rangers have scored in a game 11 times already this month.

Lindblom, who turned 26 Saturday, hung a curveball to Adam Lind in the first inning and Lind blasted it to right for a two-run homer. The homer did him in again in the fourth inning as Colby Rasmus smacked a two-run homer to right on a changeup.

“Those two pitches, one was a physical mistake, I just left a breaking ball up to Lind, and the other was a mental mistake,” Lindblom said. “It was a just the wrong pitch to the wrong guy. The changeup was the wrong pitch to Rasmus in that situation.”

Lindblom (0-2) allowed five hits in six innings.

Martin, who had a career high three hits, made it 4-1 in the sixth inning but Kinsler flew out to end the inning with runners on the corners.
Kinsler went 0 for 4 in his return and the Rangers, who continue to look for a spark as they haven’t had the lead in a game for the last 24 innings.