Rangers struggle with runner at 3B, less than 2 outs

ARLINGTON, Texas -- When there's a runner at third base and less than two outs, you would expect an offense that leads the league in runs scored and batting average to take advantage. And in a close game, those kind of situations are magnified.

But, for whatever reason, that hasn't been the case for the Rangers for parts of 2012. According to ESPN Stats & Information (thanks to Katharine Sharp), going into Tuesday's game, the Rangers had scored a run in 51 percent of their plate appearances with a runner at third and less than two outs. That was fourth worst in the American League.

The Rangers weren't able to execute in that situation Tuesday as Josh Hamilton stood at third base in a 2-0 game in the first inning with no outs. He was there after right fielder Brandon Moss charged a single and the ball went under his glove, rolling to the wall. Third-base coach Dave Anderson held Hamilton at third with no outs and the Nos. 4-6 hitters due up, starting with Adrian Beltre. But three outs later, Hamilton was still at third.

In the Rangers' 3-2 win over the Mariners on Sunday, Texas had three chances with a runner at third and less than two outs and couldn't convert.

"It's been a particular problem the last week," hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh said. "You have to simplify your approach and not try to do too much. They know that. It's something we talk about all the time. It's just one of those things that you have to slow yourself down and allow that to happen. If you notice, some of the outs we're making, we're making them real quick and early in the count. That shows we have to slow our minds down a little bit and not try to swing too hard and simplify. We're a good offensive team and we'll get them in. We just have to keep getting them out there. Tonight it hurt us."

Rangers manager Ron Washington certainly liked his team's odds with Hamilton at third and no one out.

"We didn't get it done," Washington said. "You figure in that situation you have four, five and six coming and someone would put a ball in play. But you have to give (Tommy) Milone credit. He pitched out of it."

Michael Young said Milone did a good job of bearing down and not allowing that third run to score. The Rangers weren't able to get any more runs after that, eventually losing 3-2 in 10 innings.

"It's something we'll keep working on," Coolbaugh said. "We can do it, but we've gotten into ruts where maybe we're not quite as patient as we could be."