Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Orioles 6, Rangers 5
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers lost to the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 on Wednesday. Some quick thoughts:
How it happened: The Orioles broke a tie game with an RBI single from Nick Markakis in the sixth inning, shortly after the Rangers had tied the score. Nick Martinez ended up allowing six runs (four earned) on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.
What it means: Texas drops to 29-30, and since the A's beat the Yankees, the Rangers are eight games back in the AL West. That's tied for the most games behind the A's the Rangers have been in the division this season. They were also eight back on May 20-21.
Early errors: The Rangers went with a backup right side of the infield on Wednesday with Elvis Andrus getting an off day and Adrian Beltre getting a bit of a break as the DH. That meant Donnie Murphy played third and Luis Sadrinas was at shortstop. Right away, that side of the infield got some action. Sardinas was under a two-out popup by Nelson Cruz, but it glanced off his glove for an error. That put Cruz at second and he scored when Adam Jones' hard grounder got past Rougned Odor. The ball might have been deflected, but Odor was in position and just couldn't quite make the play. It gave the Orioles an early lead.
Sardinas committed his second error of the game in the third inning, throwing high and wide of first base on what should have been a ground ball out off the bat of Cruz.
Beltre blasts: Adrian Beltre accounted for all five runs for the Rangers with two home runs, both with two outs. Baltimore starter Bud Norris gave up both homers. The first came in the first inning, as Beltre went the opposite way and hit the facade of the upper home run porch in right. The estimated distance was 401 feet and it was helped by a jet stream on Wednesday.
The second homer came with the Rangers down by three runs in the fifth. Beltre hit a three-run blast with two outs to right field to tie it with one swing. Beltre now has five two-out homers, the most on the team.
Bunt fails: After Alex Rios singled to start the eighth inning, No. 6 hitter Donnie Murphy attempted to bunt him over. But the bunt wasn't hit hard enough and catcher Caleb Joseph threw to second to get Rios. The Rangers didn't score in the inning.
Two-out success: The Rangers have the highest batting average with two outs in the big leagues: .271 coming into game. They were 5-for-14 on Wednesday. Odor and Rios are the best two-out hitters on the club.
Key two-out walk: Mitch Moreland drew a two-out walk in the first inning, making Beltre's blast a two-run homer to give the Rangers the lead. Moreland was behind 0-2 in that at-bat and managed to work a walk on nine pitches. That allowed the inning to continue. Moreland was also on base for Beltre's second home run, getting an infield single when his ball went off Norris' arm and rolled toward third base.
10-pitch AB matters: Sardinas, after a tough night in the field, had a nice 10-pitch at-bat that kept the fifth inning going. He hit a 3-2 fastball into center field with two outs. Moreland also got on and Beltre tied the game with a home run. But the two-out rally started with Sardinas. The shortstop ended up with three hits on the night.
Wasted chance: Rios doubled to start the fourth inning, but never crossed home plate. Donnie Murphy, Leonys Martin and Robinson Chirinos couldn't get a hit when needed with two strikeouts and a ground out. The club was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and up to that point was 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the series. Beltre changed that with his home run in the fifth.
Crush Davis: For the second consecutive game, a former Ranger hit a home run against his old club. Chris Davis hit a jet stream-aided homer 380 feet to right in the fifth. Cruz hit a home run on Tuesday.
RISP struggles: Andrus pinch hit for Odor in the sixth inning with a runner at second base and two outs and grounded out to shortstop. Andrus is now 4-for-41 with runners in scoring position this season. Only Danny Espinosa is worse with at least 30 at-bats (3-for-43).
Up next: RHP Colby Lewis (4-4, 5.44 ERA) goes up against RHP Chris Tillman (5-2, 4.63 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on FSSW and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. Tillman takes the place of Miguel Gonzalez, who was scratched because of discomfort in his right side.