Rapid Reaction: Orioles 4, Rangers 2
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers were swept by the Baltimore Orioles as their offense was again lifeless in a 4-2 loss on Sunday night.
The Rangers, losers of seven of their past eight games, dropped a game in the standings for the first time since the All-Star break, falling three games behind the first-place Oakland A's.
See ya Birds: The Rangers have lost their past five games to Baltimore, which swept a series at Rangers Ballpark for the first time since a four-game series in 2010. That series included the Rangers debut of Cliff Lee, who was hit hard and lost his start but then went on to help the Rangers reach the World Series for the first time.
Beltre homers late: Adrian Beltre gave the Rangers life with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth, a 440-foot home run that was the Rangers' first since Saturday at Detroit.
Perez grinds out start: Martin Perez didn't get much help from his defense and ended up allowing four runs in 6⅓ innings. He had some bad luck, too, as David Murphy lost a line drive in the sun to lead off the second inning, helping the Orioles take a 2-0 lead. The inning could have been worse. Perez pitched out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs, striking out Nate McLouth and Manny Machado and getting Nick Markakis to ground out to second base. Perez had five strikeouts and a walk.
Defense falters: It started in the top of the second inning, when Murphy lost the line drive in the sun off the bat of Chris Davis. After Matt Wieters had an RBI single and J.J. Hardy had an infield hit, an error by Elvis Andrus on what should have been a force play, or maybe even a double play, loaded the bases for the Orioles. Brian Roberts followed with a run-scoring single, then Perez was able to work out of the jam.
More bad baserunning: The Rangers pride themselves on being aggressive on the bases. It's more like dreadful at this point. The Rangers made outs No. 68 and No. 69 on the bases Sunday night, tying Houston for the most in the league. Out No. 68 was particularly brutal. Murphy was out in a rundown between third and home plate on a play on which it would have been better off to hold him at third, even with two outs.
Rangers do finally score: The Rangers scored their first run on Ian Kinsler's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fifth that scored Andrus and then had Murphy thrown out between third and home. The Rangers have scored two runs or less in six of their past eight games.
Middle of the lineup struggles: The Rangers have a power outage from the heart of their lineup out of the break. Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski combined for a 1-for-12 night. Cruz struck out three times. Beltre flew out to right field three times before hitting his home run. Pierzynski didn't hit a ball out of the infield.
Up next: The Rangers begin a four-game home series against the New York Yankees on Monday night when right-hander Yu Darvish (8-4, 3.02 ERA) returns from the disabled list to face right-hander Ivan Nova (4-2, 3.63 ERA) at 6:05 p.m. on ESPN, Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM. The matchups for the rest of the series are: Rangers right-hander Alexi Ogando (4-2, 2.93) versus right-hander Phil Hughes (4-9, 4.57) at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday night; left-hander Derek Holland (8-5, 3.10) versus left-hander Andy Pettitte (7-7, 4.47) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night; and Rangers starter to be announced against Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (9-6, 2.65) at 1:05 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
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.