Minor solid, but Rangers miss chances in loss

July 26th, 2020

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers felt like they let one get away on Saturday afternoon. And that’s going to be even tougher to take during a 60-game regular season in which everything is magnified.

Texas went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 men on base and committing two errors in the fourth inning. The Rangers are also still looking for their first home run in their new ballpark after a 3-2 loss to the Rockies at Globe Life Field.

“We had plenty of opportunities, and the runs they got, we kind of gave them,” manager Chris Woodward said. “In the fourth inning, we made some mistakes, gave up two runs and lost by one. We had a lot of opportunities, especially with some of our best hitters up, so it definitely feels like we let one get away from us.”

Texas has split the first two games of the season, despite allowing only three runs. The last time it allowed three or fewer runs in its first two games was in 1979.

The Rangers were also without third baseman Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who was scratched before the game with tightness in his left hamstring. He is questionable for Sunday.

“I'm hoping it's just a cramp,” Woodward said. “That's what he said, he felt it a little bit last night. It was grabbing on him a little bit when he was trying to run before the game. So, I felt like it makes no sense to try and put him in a situation where he could end up hurting himself even more.”

Rangers starter Mike Minor committed one of the errors in the fourth and ended up taking the loss. He allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk over five innings, but he said he didn’t feel in rhythm coming out of the bullpen.

“You throw a bad bullpen or something and then you go into the game, it could be a lot different,” Minor said. “I was hoping that it would be different, so today was kind of a grind, just trying to figure out some things.”

Nolan Arenado started the Rockies' fourth-inning rally by drawing a one-out walk after fouling off a couple full-count pitches. Charlie Blackmon then hit a high chopper that Rougned Odor struggled with while trying to turn a double play. Instead, it went for an error, and the Rockies had runners at the corners.

“When the ball is chopped like that, he kind of rushed it, thinking he could get a double play out of it,” Woodward said. “I think, right there, we have to transfer it, keep it clean and give it to the shortstop. If you can’t get two, you can’t get two, but he kind of rushed it.”

Matt Kemp’s bloop single plated a run, and Blackmon went to third. Ryan McMahon then hit a sharp grounder back to the mound that Minor knocked down and dove after, but his throw to the plate was off target, allowing Blackmon to score.

“Fairly frustrating,” Minor said. “I felt like I could’ve gotten out of it a little earlier than expected. I wasn’t sure about the play that came back at me. I thought we had a play at the plate. Obviously, I just tried to skip it over there thinking that was the quickest way, bang-bang play or whatever, and it didn’t work out.”

The Rangers' frustration was only beginning. Over the final five innings, they had seven hits (all singles), five walks and one hit-by-pitch, but they managed only two runs. They had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh and runners at second and third with no outs in the eighth, and they failed to score both times.

“We had golden opportunities with a lot of our best hitters,” Woodward said. “That was something that kind of defined the game. We were in it the whole way, and we ended up losing by one run. Those are situations I expect our best hitters to come through and capitalize on. Today, they got us.”

The Rangers' only extra-base hit was a third-inning triple by catcher Jeff Mathis, the eighth of his career.