Sunday, August 8, 2010
Rangers finish trip with close loss to A's
By Richard Durrett
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Manager Ron Washington said he had the situation he wanted in the ninth inning. Vladimir Guerrero, pinch hitting for Julio Borbon, was up with runners at first and second and one out in a 3-2 game.
"We get a hit right there and things are different," Washington said. "It didn't happen."
Guerrero grounded into a double play to end the game. It ended a road trip that outfielder Josh Hamilton referred to as "just OK," with the club going 4-5 and losing one game of its lead over the A's. Texas is now 7.5 games up on Oakland.
The Rangers had a chance to increase the divisional lead on Sunday and looked in position to do that after the top of the sixth inning. Texas scored two runs, thanks to a an error that put Elvis Andrus on base and a single from Josh Hamilton scored him. Hamilton was able to get to third on a throwing error and scored on a sacrifice fly from Nelson Cruz.
But Colby Lewis, who put a runner on in all six innings he pitched and worked out of trouble for most of the afternoon, wasn't able to get the shutdown inning.
"It seemed like there were runners in scoring position in every inning and I thought I was going to get out of it again," Lewis said. "I made a decent pitch to Davis and he got it up a little bit to get that run in. I'm not real upset with anything else. It's just one of those things where I threw too many pitches and put too many guys on to where I couldn't go longer."
In a strange scheduling quirk, Lewis had to face Trevor Cahill for the fourth time this season. And for the fourth straight time, Cahill beat him. It's become difficult enough that Washington felt two runs had to be enough against Cahill, who is now 6-1 with a 1.54 ERA against Texas in his career (eight starts) and 16-16 with a 4.19 ERA against everybody else.
Once again, the offense didn't generate much. Outside of that sixth inning, they had just three hits. They scored a total of nine runs in the series. Michael Young was 0-for-4 with a strikeout and was 4-for-38 (.105) on the road trip. The bottom third of the Rangers order was 0-for-11 with a walk on Sunday.
* Darren Oliver hasn't been the same pitcher after the All-Star break that he was before. Oliver had a 5.68 ERA after the break coming into the game in 6 1/3 innings. And he allowed two hits, including a run-scoring double off the bat of Coco Crisp to tie the score. The A's took the lead for good moments later. Both runs were charged to Oliver.
"I wish I could make an excuse, but there is no excuses," Oliver said. "I still feel good, but it's baseball -- you go through streaks like that," Oliver said. "I don't have an explanation. I try to go out there and do the best I can."
* Washington said that when Mike Maddux went to the mound in the seventh, umpire Joe West came up to tell Maddux that he wasn't going to let him stall to give Darren O'Day more time to warmup. Washington said West came up to "show he's the boss."
Washington said when Maddux left the dugout O'Day wasn't ready but moments later he was. So Washington was yelling at Maddux to go ahead and make the change. It's rare that Maddux makes a pitching change, but Washington said the club would have switched pitchers whether West had gone to the mound or not.
* Washington planned to go with Vladimir Guerrero pinch-hitting for Julio Borbon in the ninth if someone got on and he stuck with that. He felt Guzman could do something and, in fact, he drew a walk to put two men on base for Guerrero.
* Elvis Andrus said his hand is fine. He said the ball grazed it as he was hit at home plate and he shook it off before arriving at first after trainer Jamie Reed took a look at it.
* Josh Hamilton was 2-for-4 and is hitting .406 over his last 25 games. He's reached base safely in 55 of his last 60 games. He's hitting .388 (19-for-49) against the A's this season.