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Thursday, April 29, 2010
Ranger reax: Seventh inning hurts Rangers

By Richard Durrett

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers appeared close to getting a sweep of the White Sox on Thursday, something that would have put them at .500 on the season.

But, as has been the case in a handful of games this season, defense and a strange inning led to a 7-5 loss. On Thursday, it was the seventh, which started with a ground ball to short. Justin Smoak stood ready to receive the throw, but misjudged it and couldn't catch it. The error put the leadoff batter on base and started a chain of events that turned a 3-1 Rangers lead into a 4-3 deficit after the inning was over. It moved the Rangers' mark to 7-5 when leading after six innings this season. They were 74-6 last season when they had the lead through the sixth inning.

"I thought it was going to get to me on the short hop," Smoak said. "I should have gone out and caught it. That was not the play I wanted to make."

Scott Feldman, who pitched well in his six innings, then walked Mark Kotsay on four pitches.

"That's a bad walk," Feldman said. "I'm trying to get a double play and walked him on four pitches. That was not good execution."

The White Sox closed the gap to a run and loaded the bases. Dustin Nippert then tried to throw a curve ball to Andruw Jones and it hit the dirt. Max Ramirez blocked it, but it bounced away from him. Ramirez's throw missed Nippert and two runs ended up scoring.

"It was a bang-bang play and I tried to grab the ball and swipe the tag," Nippert said. "I just missed it."

Other reaction:

* Justin Smoak had no idea how far his first Major League homer went and smiled when told it was 402 feet into the upper deck in right field. He thinks someone got the ball for him, but he wasn't sure. "I felt good at the plate," Smoak said. "But winning is the main thing and we didn't quite do that today." Smoak also had a double for his first multi-hit and multi-RBI game of his young career.

* Scott Feldman said he didn't work on one particular thing after two straight struggling starts. "I just wanted to be better and more consistent," Feldman said. He was on Thursday. He did four, something he said he wants to cut down on, but he had pretty good command under windy conditions and got ground ball outs.

* It's worth noting this club has won five of its last eight after the six-game losing streak on the road. They head out west to face Seattle and Oakland starting Friday.

* Josh Hamilton is really starting to get things together. He is 9-for-23 in his last five games (.391) with two homers, two doubles and four RBIs.