Rapid Reaction: Pirates 1, Rangers 0
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers can't win with Yu Darvish on the mound. They lost for the fifth consecutive Darvish start as the Pittsburgh Pirates scratched out a run in the top of the seventh for a 1-0 victory on Monday night.
Meanwhile, the offense produced three hits, all singles.
AL West race: The Oakland A's were off, so the Rangers fell to only two games behind Oakland in the American League West. The Rangers led the division by one game entering last Monday's game against the A's.
Pirates break through: A pair of two-out doubles in the top of the seventh inning stung Darvish. First, Marlon Byrd grounded a two-bagger past Adrian Beltre at third base. Then, Pedro Alvarez punched a 1-2 two-seam fastball into center field for an RBI double and a 1-0 lead. Darvish ended a streak of 19⅔ scoreless innings against National League opponents.
Darvish's night: Darvish made one of his best starts of the season, needing only 81 pitches to get through seven innings. He threw 54 strikes. Darvish did a nice job of mixing in his fastball after struggling with his command in his previous start in Oakland. Darvish allowed four hits, two of which came in the seventh inning. He had six strikeouts and one walk. He left after the seventh inning with cramps in his lower right leg. The injury isn't considered to be serious and Darvish should make his next start Saturday against Oakland.
Can't solve Cole: Pirates rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole was sensational in his 16th major league start. The 23-year-old allowed three hits in seven innings. He had nine strikeouts and two walks. Cole mixed in a 98 mph fastball with sliders and cutters.
Rangers' best threat: The Rangers did create a chance against Cole in the bottom of the sixth. With two outs, Elvis Andrus walked and stole second base. Then, Alex Rios drew a walk. That was followed up by a double steal by Andrus and Rios, putting two runners in scoring position for cleanup hitter Adrian Beltre. Mired in a 1-for-21 slump, Beltre two-hopped a ground ball to shortstop to end the inning.
Andrus makes history: Andrus moved into second place all-time on the Rangers' stolen base list, swiping a pair of bags Monday night to pass Bump Wills. Andrus has 162 career stolen bases, one more than Wills. Ian Kinsler is the all-time leader with 170 stolen bases.
Out at the plate: The Rangers stayed within a run in the top of the ninth after Andrew McCutchen's one-out triple. Justin Morneau hit a ground ball to second base with the infield playing in, and Kinsler threw out the speedy McCutchen at the plate to end the inning.
Up next: The Rangers will send left-hander Martin Perez (9-3, 3.41 ERA) to the mound against Pittsburgh lefty Francisco Liriano (15-7, 2.98) at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday night on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.
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.