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Sunday, June 29, 2014
Choice done in by sinkers in key situations

By Randy Jennings
Special to ESPNDallas.com

Michael Choice
"It's pretty frustrating," Michael Choice said of his struggles. "I'm trying to be more consistent."

ARLINGTON, Texas -- For Michael Choice, a 24-year-old outfielder still feeling his way in the big leagues, the Texas Rangers' 3-2 loss Sunday to the Minnesota Twins will not appear on his individual highlight reel.

In the field, the Texas-Arlington product did make a nice running catch.

But at the plate, Choice came up empty in a pair of vital run-scoring chances.

In the second inning with none out and again in the seventh with one out, Choice batted with runners at first and third.

Minnesota pitcher Kyle Gibson struck out Choice in the second. That threat ended on 20-year-old second baseman Rougned Odor's double-play grounder.

In the seventh, Gibson got Choice to bounce into the Rangers’ third double play of the game to kill a chance to take the lead. Texas didn’t threaten again.

Sunday’s 0-for-3 dropped Choice’s batting average to .183. However, he remains second on the club in home runs, with eight.

“It’s pretty frustrating," Choice said. “Just when I feel like I’m about to get it going, I drop off a few days later. I’m trying to be more consistent."

In either situation, a fly ball to medium depth was what was needed. Even a double-play grounder in the second inning would have scored a run.

“I know what I’m supposed to do there," Choice said. “But [Gibson] has a really good sinker and he got me both times. He’s good at what he does."

Rangers manager Ron Washington chalked things up to Choice's learning process: “He has to figure out what pitchers are trying to do to him and adjust. It’s going to take time but we’re going to keep working with him."

On the double plays, Washington said hitters in those situations "have to walk up to the plate and know what needs to be done."

Not a bad pitch: Joakim Soria was not unhappy about the pitch he threw that Kendrys Morales turned around for the winning hit in the ninth inning.

“I felt it was a good pitch, away, and he went the other way and found the line," said Soria. “A good pitch, a great hitter and it happened."

The game was knotted 2-2 when Soria entered -- a non-save situation.

He discounted the notion that a save being on the line makes a difference to him.

“I try to do my best every time," Soria said.

Speaking of Soria in his pregame media session, Washington addressed the save/non-save question.

“You might have guys that use [non-save pitching] as a reason. I'd say totally not with Joakim," Washington said. "Because he’s the ultimate pro.

“These guys, you think they’re automatic. But sometimes they have to work at it."