Rapid Reaction: Braves 4, Rangers 2

June, 19, 2011
6/19/11
4:12
PM CT
ATLANTA -- The Rangers couldn't get the sweep done against the Braves after some defensive miscues in the third inning, a particularly rough one for catcher Yorvit Torrealba, and an inability to get enough big hits with runners in scoring position. They head home after a 3-7 road trip. A few quick thoughts (we'll have more from the clubhouse later):

* Alexi Ogando didn't have his dominant stuff Sunday and was a bit wild in the strike zone. His pitches weren't hitting the corners like they have most of the year, and the Braves took advantage. Ogando had trouble consistently getting ahead of hitters, too. But Ogando didn't get much help in the third inning either, as errors and plays that weren't made extended the inning. He threw a lot of pitches early thanks to a bunch of foul balls by Braves hitters. He ended up going five innings, allowing three runs -- but just one earned -- and throwing 105 pitches.

* The third started with a catcher's interference call on Torrealba (that's scored an error, BTW), which put Jordan Schafer on base with one out. After Dan Uggla, batting .176 coming in, hit a single through the hole between short and third, Ogando threw ball in the dirt that Torrealba couldn't block. The wild pitch put runners at second and third and Jason Heyward cashed them in with a hard-hit single on a 3-2 fastball.

* It was a tough day for Torrealba. He was charged with two errors in the third, including one on a popup just a little ways up the first-base line. Michael Young came down and the two players hit into each other, allowing it to drop. That scored an additional Braves run with two outs. Normally, the first baseman makes that play because he has the larger glove and doesn't have all that equipment to deal with. Torrealba must not have heard Young (I'm told you could hear Young calling for the ball on the home TV broadcast). He tried to make up for his rough third in the fourth. He hit an RBI single, one of two hits on the day, to put the Rangers on the board.

* Torrealba was taken out of the game in the bottom of the fourth because he was "out of gas," according to Rangers officials. He certainly looked tired out there. Taylor Teagarden came in for him.

* Texas was 22-for-100 with runners in scoring position on the road trip. Clearly, they didn't take advantage of scoring chances. They were 1-for-12 on Sunday.

* The Rangers closed the gap to 3-2 in the top of the seventh but gave the run back in the bottom half. Michael Kirkman walked two batters to put two on with one out. Arthur Rhodes then came in to face left-handed hitters Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman. He got McCann for the second time in the series, getting him to pop up in foul ground to Adrian Beltre. But he left a pitch up to Freeman, who crushed it to left-center for a ground-rule double that scored an important fourth run for Atlanta. The fact that the ball bounced over the fence saved the Rangers a run.

* Ogando roped a single to center in his first at-bat, ending an 0-for-22 string for Rangers pitchers at the plate in the regular season dating back to Scott Feldman's double against Houston on June 18, 2010. Before that hit, Texas pitchers were hitting .133 (36-for-270) with eight doubles, a triple, a homer and 12 RBIs in interleague play since 1997. (Cliff Lee had a hit during the World Series).

* Josh Hamilton continues to struggle during the day. He is now hitting .122 (6-for-49) during the day this season and is a .367 hitter at night. He had two strikeouts on Sunday, but did drive in a run in the seventh with a ground ball to first. He struck out in the ninth as the tying run, ending the game.

* Nelson Cruz made a nice defensive play on a long fly ball hit by Freeman in the second. Cruz calmly went back toward the wall, knew he had just a little room in front of it, jumped up and took a hit (probably a double, I don't think the ball would have gone over the wall) from Freeman.

* A bright sun impacted the defense. Ian Kinsler had a tough battle with it in the first, using his glove as a shade as he caught a high popup from Uggla. Kinsler actually caught the ball as he was falling over. He walked back to second and looked up again shaking his head (at the sun, it appeared).

* Kinsler started to hit the ball better on the road trip. He has a six-game hitting streak and is hitting .286 (8-for-28) in that span. He's batting even better -- .318 -- over his last 10 games.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.328 14 53 52
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 14
RBIA. Beltre 53
RA. Beltre 52
OPSA. Beltre .899
WY. Darvish 9
ERAY. Darvish 2.88
SOY. Darvish 154