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Beltre's two home-run night not enough vs. Orioles

Rangers' struggles mount at home with losses in 12 of last 16 games

ARLINGTON -- On Thursday evening, the Rangers finally get to make their first pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

At that point, they will no longer have to fear losing it as compensation for signing free agent designated hitter Kendrys Morales, the one player immediately available to possibly help an offense that is struggling in general and at home in particular.

That may or may not happen -- the Rangers aren't the only team interested -- but it's something they probably need to consider after they went down for the 12th time in their last 16 games at home with a 6-5 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday.

Asked what's going wrong at home, manager Ron Washington said, "We just haven't been hitting. Our offense hasn't been where it should be when we're at home. We're working every day and we'll continue to work until we get it where we want it."

In those last 16 games at home, the Rangers are hitting .212 with a .323 slugging percentage while averaging three runs per game. Adrian Beltre supplied all of their runs on Tuesday with a two-run home run in the first and a three-run shot in the fifth. He is the first Rangers player to hit two home runs in one game this season and he has three in two games.

"When Beltre punches the ball out of the ballpark, he does it in bunches," Washington said. "He's been grinding, his average is above .300 and he is starting to pick up RBIs. Tonight he was the one who put us on his back, we just couldn't score any more runs."

Washington tried to create opportunities. He tried bunting with his No. 6 hitter in the eighth inning and it didn't work. He tried not bunting in the ninth inning, only to have his hitter ground into a double play. The Rangers are 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position over the past two games with the only hit being Beltre's three-run home run.

"It's baseball," infielder Donnie Murphy said. "Some days you execute everything, and the next day you don't. It's part of baseball. It just seems like that's been part of it the last couple days. I think we have the right combination. I think the last couple games we've just been struggling in certain situations. Hopefully we start doing better in those situations and I think we'll start winning ball games again."

Rangers starter Nick Martinez went 5 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on nine hits and three walks with one strikeout. Two of the runs were unearned because of a pair of errors by shortstop Luis Sardinas, who was starting because Elvis Andrus was given the night off.

"I don't feel good at all," Sardinas said. "We're all here to contribute to win and I did exactly the contrary. I wanted to help the win but the error cost me two runs and that cost us a game. We're trying to do the best we can but not every day goes the way you want it to be. "

The errors didn't help but Martinez also gave up home runs to Nick Markakis and Chris Davis. The home runs by Beltre off opposing starter Bud Norris allowed the Rangers to make it 5-5 after five but the Orioles forged ahead in the sixth on a run-scoring single by Markakis.

The Rangers couldn't overcome that. In the eighth inning, Alex Rios led off with a single against side-arming right-hander Darren O'Day. That brought up Murphy, hitting right-handed in the sixth spot. His bunt hit off the plate and went up in the air, allowing catcher Caleb Joseph to jump on it and get the force at second.

"I was just trying to get a runner in scoring position against a side-armer who is tough on right-handers," Washington said.

O'Day retired the next two hitters, leaving the ninth inning for left-handed closer Zach Britton. This time Andrus, who had pinch-hit for Rougned Odor in the sixth, reached base to start the inning on a bunt single.

That brought up Shin-Soo Choo in a lefty vs. lefty situation. The Orioles had third baseman Manny Machado charging in defense of the bunt. But Choo, with Sardinas and Mitch Moreland up next, swung away and hit a double-play grounder right at shortstop J.J. Hardy.

"Choo is one of the best hitters in the lineup," Washington said. "I'm looking for him to swing the bat, not bunt and put the pressure on Sardinas."

Sardinas singled and Washington sent up right-handed hitter Michael Choice to bat for Moreland. Britton struck him out to end the game. The Rangers are now one game under .500, eight games behind the Athletics in the A.L. West and with an offense that has needed help for awhile.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
Read More: Texas Rangers, Mitch Moreland, Leonys Martin, Adrian Beltre, Nick Martinez