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Bats can't back Fister as Rangers fall to Halos

Banister, hitters not concerned about team's recent offensive struggles
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ANAHEIM -- On Sunday afternoon, the Rangers were unable to build off Saturday's exhilarating comeback victory.

Instead, the offensive funk that settled in on the final four games of the road trip continued in a 3-1 loss to the Angels. Texas got just five hits off Angels starter Tyler Skaggs and three relievers, suffering its third loss in the past four games.

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ANAHEIM -- On Sunday afternoon, the Rangers were unable to build off Saturday's exhilarating comeback victory.

Instead, the offensive funk that settled in on the final four games of the road trip continued in a 3-1 loss to the Angels. Texas got just five hits off Angels starter Tyler Skaggs and three relievers, suffering its third loss in the past four games.

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The Rangers scored just five runs in those four games, batting .194 with 15 walks and 38 strikeouts. They were 2-for-27 with runners in scoring position.

Manager Jeff Banister still is hopeful that his offense is headed in the right direction based on the success they had early in the seven-game road trip. Even with their struggles on Sunday, the Rangers almost pulled out another late win. Angels reliever Justin Anderson walked Ronald Guzman, Joey Gallo and Shin-Soo Choo to load the bases with two outs, but Isiah Kiner-Falefa flied out to shallow right to end the game.

Video: TEX@LAA: Anderson escapes bases-loaded jam for save

"I like where our guys are at," Banister said. "They're still letting the [pitch] travel, looking for their pitch to hit. I like when they are aggressive early in the count. We had [seven] walks, made their pitcher work. [Skaggs] made some quality pitches in run-scoring opportunities. We had the right guys at the right time and just didn't get the big hit. We are doing a much better job of controlling the strike zone."

The Rangers' lone run came on a home run by Nomar Mazara, and they were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position Sunday.

Video: TEX@LAA: Mazara lifts a solo home run to right field

One of the missed opportunities involved a 10-pitch at-bat by Mazara against Skaggs in the fourth after a leadoff double by Choo and a walk to Kiner-Falefa. Mazara fouled off four straight 2-2 pitches before striking out on a full-count fastball. That might have been the biggest at-bat of the game.

"We had opportunities with runners in scoring position and weren't able to drive in the runs," Mazara said. "We are having a hard time, but we need to stick to the plan. We just have to trust ourselves. We did pretty well in the first part of the road trip, so we just have to trust in ourselves."

Rangers starter Doug Fister took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in six innings. He gave up a two-run double to Luis Valbuena in the second, retired 13 straight hitters, then gave up a home run to Justin Upton in the sixth.

Fister is still looking for his first win since March 30 against the Astros in his first start of the season. Since then, he's 0-6 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP, with the Rangers scoring a meager 2.73 runs per nine innings when he's on the mound in those 10 starts.

"It just means I have to pitch better," Fister said. "That's what it comes down to. I need to keep pushing forward and keep fine-tuning to do what I need to do to [prevent] runs. If I keep it a closer ballgame in a couple of different scenarios, it's a whole different scenario for us as a team."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Delino DeShields led off the Rangers' fifth with a drive to deep left-center field that Mike Trout raced over and snagged just in front of the fence. Statcast™ rated it as a 5-star catch, as Trout had to cover 103 feet in 5.5 seconds with a sprint speed of 29 feet per second. The play had only a 19 percent catch probability.

Video: TEX@LAA: Trout makes a fine running grab at the wall

"I hit it good," DeShields said. "It made a loud sound, and it's been a long time since I heard a ball like that. But I look up and it's in his glove. He's an elite center fielder."

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Kiner-Falefa started at third base with Adrian Beltre serving as the designated hitter and made another terrific defensive play, a charging barehander on Michael Hermosillo's slow chopper to end the second.

Video: TEX@LAA: Guzman goes into the splits to get the out

SOUND SMART
Choo has now reached base in 20 straight games, going 24-for-73 with 19 walks during that span. He had two doubles on Sunday and also has an 11-game hitting streak.

HE SAID IT
"I think what Fister does is no surprise, and we tell our guys -- I mean, we've faced him -- he works quickly, he uses his defense, moves the ball in and out." -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia

UP NEXT
Matt Moore gets the start as the Rangers open a two-game series with the Athletics at 7:05 p.m. CT Tuesday at Globe Life Park. Moore came off the disabled list Wednesday and allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Mariners. He is 0-3 with a 7.83 ERA in five starts at home this season and 1-2 with a 6.82 ERA in six career starts vs. the A's. Left-hander Sean Manaea starts for Oakland.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Doug Fister