Rapid Reaction: Twins 5, Rangers 1
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers couldn't seem to find much offense and had some sloppy play in the field in a 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Some thoughts on the game:
What it means: The Rangers have lost five straight games, the club's longest streak this season. The last time they lost five straight was June 11-16, 2011 (two to the Twins, three to the Yankees).
Offense struggles again: Texas scored just one run Friday and during this five-game losing streak, the club has just nine runs. They had a baserunner in each of the first seven innings and managed just one run in that span. It came on a Nelson Cruz single in the sixth. The club also drew six walks, usually a recipe for success. But the Rangers couldn't get them home.
RISP issues: In first baseman Mike Napoli's first three at-bats, he came up with a runner at second base and couldn't deliver, extending his streak to 0-for-21 with runners in scoring position. ... As a team, the Rangers were 1-for-10 with RISP on Friday and are 6-for-30 (.200) during this five-game losing streak.
Hamilton exits with back spams: Josh Hamilton left in the fifth inning with lower back spasms. Read more here.
Intentional walk works: The Rangers, who don't intentionally walk batters often, decided to issue a free pass to cleanup hitter Josh Willingham in the first inning so that left-hander Martin Perez could face left-handed hitter Justin Morneau, who was batting just .098 against left-handed pitchers (8-for-82). Morneau did come up with two outs in the third and got the job done off Perez, getting an RBI single.
Perez battles: It was a quality start for Perez, who gave up four runs (but just two earned) on six hits in six innings with three walks and three strikeouts. He also had a wild pitch and hit a batter. Perez wasn't dominant and didn't get much help from his defense, but he hung in to give the club six innings. In two starts, Perez has allowed four earned runs in 11 1/3 innings for a 3.18 ERA.
Mixed bag in RF: Cruz had a rough time in right field early. He bobbled a single by Joe Mauer and was not able to have a chance to throw home to get Ben Revere. There were two outs, so Revere was running on contact and has good speed, but Cruz also has one of the best arms in the game. The bobble -- he held up on the ball and it bounced past him -- meant he had no chance to try the throw. Two batters later, Cruz started to come in on a ball hit by Morneau, but seemed hesitant and let it drop in front of him, which scored Willingham to make it 3-0. Both runs in the third came with two outs. ... Cruz, though, did make a great catch in right field that limited the damage in the fourth. He sprinted over toward the line on Willingham's fly ball and made a running, sliding catch to end the frame.
Costly error: Napoli appeared to fight the wind on a popup in the third inning off Willingham's bat. Napoli was set up in foul ground, but then the ball tailed and he tried to dive into fair ground and missed it, costing the Rangers a run and letting the inning continue. It was the 43rd unearned run of the season (on 46 errors). That's second-most behind Detroit, who had 46 unearned runs coming into the day. ... Josh Hamilton went back on a long fly ball off the bat of Brian Dozier and was under it, but dropped it (perhaps he lost it in the lights). That put a runner at third with two outs in the fifth, but Perez got Drew Butera to ground out to third to get out of the inning with no damage.
Tidbits: Yorvit Torrealba called Perez off and made a nice throw to first on a sac bunt to get the out. Perez had his back to first and may not get the out if he picks it up, turns and tries to find Napoli's glove at first base. ... The attendance was 47,240, the 26th sellout of the season. The Rangers have sold out all eight Friday home games this year. It was the fourth sellout in a row. ... RHP Yoshinori Tateyama pitched a perfrect eighth, getting two strikeouts to the three batters he faced.
Up next: LHP Derek Holland (5-4, 5.10 ERA) returns from the disabled list to make his first start since June 5 in Oakland. RHP Samuel Deduno will make his first outing of 2012 for the Twins. The game starts at 6:15 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.