ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers have to make it work with Alexi Ogando as their fifth starter for the rest of the season.
So they'll take the positives from Tuesday night's 5-1 loss to Milwaukee that ended an eight-game winning streak.
Ogando recorded an out in the seventh inning for the first time since April 23 against the Los Angeles Angels. He was economical with 73 pitches, averaging 11.5 pitches per inning. That was way down from 19.2 pitches per inning in his previous four starts since coming off the disabled list because of right shoulder tendinitis.
"It was an improvement," manager Ron Washington said. "He got us into the seventh inning. If we could have gotten him some runs, you never know what would have happened. They were pitching constantly with a four-run lead."
That's because Ogando allowed a season-high three home runs that put the Rangers behind 4-1 (the Brewers added another run in the eighth inning on a botched rundown). That was the downer about Ogando's night.
Ogando was hurt by two mistake pitches to Brewers No. 9 hitter Scooter Gennett, who had two big league home runs coming into Tuesday night. He doubled that total against Ogando. Designated hitter Khris Davis also hit his fourth homer of the season.
Both pitches to Gennett were supposed to be on the outside part of the plate. Ogando missed his location, leaving both offerings down and in. Gennett pounded them.
His first homer came on a fastball and traveled 409 feet. His second one came on a changeup that followed a walk and gave Milwaukee a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth.
"They both ended up down and in right into his power," Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "He didn't miss them. I'm sure it's a night he'll remember for a long time."
Ogando's velocity dropped as he pitched deeper into the game, but the big key was the improved command, Pierzynski said. The radar gun means nothing, he said.
"We'll take that out of him every time," Pierzynski said. "Obviously, we want to cut down on the home runs. Other than that, I thought he did a good job of keeping them in check. He got some double plays. He made some pitches when he had to. I thought he was pretty good."
Does Ogando feel like he's improving?
"Little by little," he said.
The Rangers hope so.