Both offense, defense elude Rangers in loss
SAN FRANCISCO – The big question mark coming into Saturday's game for Texas was how Scott Feldman was going to pitch.
The big right-hander, who grew up in the San Francisco area, answered that by pitching well enough to win against the Giants.
That wasn't the case for the Texas hitters — or their defense.
Texas managed just five hits and committed three errors for the second time on the road trip as San Francisco eased to a 5-2 victory.
The loss assured the Rangers a losing road trip, and their three-game lead is the smallest it's been since they led the American League West by 2 1/2 games on April 16.
The Rangers have scored two or fewer runs in six of the nine games on the trip, magnifying any mistake made by the pitchers or the defense.
"These guys can hit," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "It's odd that throughout the whole lineup you get that. You know these guys have a track record and they can hit. All we can do is keep working and we'll come back around. After last night, I thought we were ready to do something. It just didn't happen."
Texas had 14 hits in Friday's series opener, but Ryan Vogelsong (5-2) allowed just three in his 7 2/3 innings Saturday. Two of the hits came in the first inning and nothing materialized. The Rangers didn't get another hit off Vogelsong until Josh Hamilton doubled with two outs in the seventh inning.
By that time, the Giants had already scored three times and taken advantage of every Texas mistake. Vogelsong singled off Feldman (0-5) with one out in the third and moved to second on a balk.
He came around to score on a fielder's choice on a ball Ian Kinsler threw away for the first Texas error. Hamilton dropped a ball he lost in the sun in the fifth inning for a two-base error, and that run came around to score. Nate Schierholtz made it 3-0 with an RBI triple in the sixth after Angel Pagan drew a one-out walk and went to second on a Robbie Ross wild pitch.
Mitch Moreland's homer in the eighth inning helped the Rangers avoid their second shutout on the trip, but Texas allowed two more runs in the bottom of the eighth with Koji Uehara's errant pickoff attempt helping the San Francisco cause.
When things aren't going well, not even a team with the best record in the American League can afford to make that many mistakes and expect to win when they aren't hitting.
"This team has been through a lot," said Michael Young, who went 0 for 4. "We have a lot of talent offensively. One thing we don't do is ride the highs or ride the lows. We swung the bats really well last night, so we're not going to revert back to what happened before that. That doesn't make any sense. We're going to stick to the things we know we do well and keep working hard."
At least the Rangers can take the positive of Feldman's pitching performance from Saturday.
Feldman, who allowed eight runs and didn't make it out of the second inning in his last start, pitched 5 1/3 innings Saturday and allowed three runs (two earned).
He struck out a season high seven in his longest outing of the season.
That was little consolation to him after the loss, though.
"Obviously, it's disappointing that we didn't win, but there is some positive you can take out of it," said Feldman. "I think I threw the ball well, but it was one of those days where we didn't get many breaks as a team. They were able to scrape a few runs across and win the game."
Scraping runs across is something that has eluded the Rangers.
Texas scored two or fewer runs four times in April and four times in May. It's already happened six times this month. Despite that cold stretch, there's still no panic in the clubhouse.
"We didn't get to where we wanted to be today," said Moreland, who became just the 25th visiting player to homer into McCovey Cove. "Today, we didn't get that hit here and there and we struggled to put anything together. This team is really good. We're going to have our bumps in the road like that. I'm not really worried about us being there for too long."