Rapid Reaction: Pirates 5, Rangers 4
ARLINGTON, Texas -- This time Martin Perez didn't stop a Rangers losing streak. The left-hander lasted only five innings, and the offense again didn't do enough in a 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
Almost in the 9th: The Rangers nearly made a huge rally in the bottom of the ninth. Leonys Martin, Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios all had singles to take the Pirates' lead from 5-2 to 5-4. With two outs and the tying run at third and the winning run at first, Adrian Beltre struck out against Pirates closer Mark Melancon to end the game. The Rangers gave up a big run in the top of the ninth when the slumping Robbie Ross started the inning with a leadoff walk that eventually scored.
A little help: The Rangers did get some help Tuesday night, as Minnesota's Josh Willingham hit a two-run home run to beat Jarrod Parker and Oakland 4-3, keeping the A's lead at two games in the American League West. Also, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Cleveland all lost and failed to gain ground on the Rangers in the AL wild-card race.
Abysmal offense: The Rangers have scored five or fewer runs in a season-high 11 straight games. They were a little better Tuesday night with runners in scoring position, going 4-for-11, but left nine men on base. The Rangers hit into two double plays and made another out on the bases.
Finally on the board: The Rangers ended 15 innings without a run or an extra-base hit when Kinsler's two-out double scored Joey Butler in the bottom of the fifth. Butler had reached on a walk to lead off the inning.
Beltre makes it closer: Beltre ended a 1-for-22 stretch with runners in scoring position with a two-out single to right field in the bottom of the eighth to score Rios. Beltre was 2-for-4 on the night.
Rally dies: The Rangers ended up with the tying runs at second and third in the bottom of the eighth after A.J. Pierzynski's double moved Beltre to third. That brought up lefty killer Jeff Baker to face Pirates southpaw Tony Watson. Baker fouled off three straight pitches up in the strike zone with the count at 0-2, then struck out on a sinker to end the threat.
Perez is human: It wasn't a great night for Perez. He needed six pitches to quickly work through the first inning. But the Pirates honed in on his fastball and peppered him for nine hits. Andrew McCutchen had an infield single in the third inning for a 1-0 lead. Perez had two outs in the fifth inning, and allowed four straight hits and three runs. McCutchen had an RBI single for a 2-0 lead, and later Gaby Sanchez had an RBI hit for another run. Marlon Byrd scored on a wild pitch for a 4-0 lead.
Ogando deals: Alexi Ogando is pitching well out of the bullpen and might be in line for a start Tuesday at Tampa Bay. Ogando delivered two scoreless innings and had three strikeouts. He has 4 1/3 scoreless innings since coming off the the disabled list for the third time this season.
Andrus caught stealing: The Rangers' streak of 19 consecutive stolen bases ended when Elvis Andrus was picked off by Francisco Liriano in the third inning. It was the first sign of the night that the Rangers are an offense that is pressing badly.
Up next: The Rangers will try to salvage a game in this three-game set against Pittsburgh when right-hander Matt Garza (9-4, 3.90 ERA) faces Pirates right-hander A.J. Burnett (7-10, 3.31) in a businessman's special at 1:05 p.m. CT Wednesday 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.