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Garza's rough outing leads to Rangers loss

Texas has lost eight of 10, falls further behind A's in West

ARLINGTON -- Matt Garza was acquired before the non-waiver Trade Deadline to help the Rangers' playoff push during the second half of the season. In 10 starts for Texas, his performance hasn't been what he expects to accomplish on the mound.

With 17 games left in the season, Garza tied his shortest outing this season and lost his third straight decision. He got through just four innings in Wednesday's 7-5 loss to the Pirates, who left Rangers Ballpark with a three-game sweep. It's the third time the Rangers have been swept in a home series of three games or more.

"Obviously I'm not happy, because I'm not where I want to be, but I just got to get keep going," Garza said. "There's nothing else. Just keep going, keep pushing, working and keep getting ready for that next start."

The Rangers are three games behind the A's, and could fall behind even more before the two teams start a three-game series on Friday. The Rangers have lost six of their last seven, and they're 2-8 in the September.

"I don't think luck has anything to do with it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the recent skid. "You make your luck. We just haven't been able to get the job done."

Garza conceded just three runs, but it took 89 pitches to finish four innings as he struggled with his fastball command. Leadoff walks in the third and fourth innings resulted in runs, two of four walks Garza issued. The last game he pitched only four innings -- on May 26 as a member of the Cubs -- was also the last time Garza walked four batters.

"I've never seen him walk that many guys," Washington said. "When he did decide to throw a pitch in the strike zone, they put it in play and found a hole."

Garza has allowed three or more runs in eight of those 10 starts with Texas and only three were quality starts. He has a 7.36 ERA in two September starts, allowing eight earned runs in 11 innings.

"That's maybe part of the problem, is maybe I'm putting too much pressure on myself," Garza said. "Maybe, but I don't think so. Just take the off-day, get my work in and be ready in five [days]."

The Rangers attempted another late rally that fell short, with all five of their runs being scored in the sixth and seventh innings. A.J. Burnett, who allowed all five, had a perfect game with one out in the fifth until A.J. Pierzynski's one-out double.

Texas scored its first two runs in the sixth on Elvis Andrus' two-RBI single with the bases loaded and no outs. With the No. 3 and 4 hitters due, Alex Rios grounded into a double play and Adrian Beltre flied out to center. Beltre has two hits in his last 25 at-bats with runners in scoring position. He's hitting 5-for-31 in his last eight games.

"I didn't expect to be hot all year," Beltre said. "You go through highs and lows, and you have to find a way how to keep the lows shorter. Right now I'm trying to stay afloat and find my swing back and stay consistent."

The Rangers managed to go 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position in a losing effort, giving them consecutive games with four or more hits in that situation for the first time since Aug. 6-9.

"How we score runs is how we're going to take it," Beltre said. "We scored five today and it wasn't enough. We had many opportunities to score more runs and we didn't. We don't care if we score with a base hit, wild pitch, hit by pitch and home run. We just to score runs to win games We don't care if we hit doubles and home runs."

The Rangers had their best chance to take their first lead of the series following a three-run seventh to trim the deficit, 6-5, but Clint Barmes recorded the only home run in the series with one out in the eighth off Tanner Scheppers. The ball bounced off the left-field foul pole and was Scheppers' first home run allowed since Aug. 16.

"It was definitely exciting to see that ball stay fair," Barmes said. "Anytime you can add to a lead is big, especially in games like this. They got a chance to come back and take it from us, at any point, especially with that lineup."

The Rangers will have their final off-day of the season on Thursday before their series against the A's.

"Whatever happened this series, we're going to wash it off and not think about it and have a nice day off and be with family and come back Friday and be ready to battle with Oakland," Beltre said. "There's no more options. We cannot fix what happened. It's in the past. We have to more forward and we have to find a way how to stay more consistent every phase of the game and have a good series against Oakland."

Master Tesfatsion is an associate reporter for
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