OAKLAND -- Third baseman Adrian Beltre said he knows what is wrong with the Rangers' offense.
"Me," Beltre said after the Rangers' 3-1 loss to the Athletics on Monday night.
There were other culprits, of course, in an offense that went 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position. But Beltre still insisted on blaming himself for the loss.
"I had a couple opportunities to help our ballclub, and I didn't do anything," Beltre said. "That's on me. That loss today is on me. I had three chances to do something, and I didn't. When your cleanup hitter is not doing squat, especially with runners in scoring position, today is all on me. We had plenty of chances, and we didn't score enough from them."
The loss was the Rangers' fourth in their first five games, and their inability to deliver with runners in scoring position has been glaring. The Rangers are 4-for-35 in those situations.
"We aren't even through the fourth inning, we have six hard-hit balls and four of them are outs," manager Jeff Banister said. "Guys are going up there and making hard contact. That's all you can ask of them. We are getting the runners on base. If we keep doing that and making hard contact, the runs are going to come across."
Joey Gallo's fifth-inning single that drove home Drew Robinson was the Rangers' only hit with runners in scoring position. Beltre was 0-for-3 in those situations, is now 0-for-6 on the season and has just one RBI in his first five games.
"It's just feeling OK, not great," Beltre said. "Today, I wasn't seeing the ball well. I don't know what it was. I just didn't feel good today, but tomorrow is a good day. Hopefully, as a team we can come back and find a way to score some runs. We're getting guys on base, which is good, but now we need to find a way to get them home."
The Rangers have other issues. Their catchers, Robinson Chirinos and Juan Centeno, are still looking for their first hit. Their left fielders are a combined 1-for-15, and Rougned Odor is 1-for-16. He batted with a runner at third and one out in the fourth Monday and popped out, leaving him 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position after five games.
"We just need to score more runs," Beltre said. "That's the bottom line."
The Rangers' final three at-bats were with runners in scoring position, as they almost came back in the ninth against A's closer Blake Treinen.
With the Rangers trailing by two, Jurickson Profar, pinch-hitting for Ryan Rua, opened the inning by drawing a walk, and Robinson followed with a single to center. That put runners on first and second, and Shin-Soo Choo moved them up by grounding out on a high chopper to second baseman Jed Lowrie. But Treinen got Gallo to pop out and Elvis Andrus to ground out to end the game.
"It's a loss, and it goes in the loss column," Banister said. "But I look at it as we had baserunners in eight of nine innings. We had some balls hit extremely hard. We keep doing that, we'll be fine."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Powell saves Piscotty: A's right fielder Stephen Piscotty dropped Chirinos' deep fly with one out in the fourth for a three-base error, but was bailed out by center fielder Boog Powell. After A's starter Andrew Triggs retired Odor on a weak popout, Rua lined a shot to center, and Powell raced in to make a diving catch for the third out. The catch was Powell's first 4-star play in center, according to Statcast™. It had a 29-percent catch probability, as Powell had to cover 36 feet in three seconds.
"We had a lot of hard-hit balls today, especially with two outs," Banister said.
Robinson makes run-saving throw: Rangers center fielder Robinson made an outstanding throw to keep the game tied in the fifth. Jonathan Lucroy tried to score from second on Marcus Semien's single, but Robinson threw him out. Robinson unleashed a two-hop throw that Chirinos caught to the left of home plate and then shut off the plate to get Lucroy.
Lowrie turns and delivers: With the score tied at 1, switch-hitter Lowrie was up against right-hander Kevin Jepsen with runners at the corners and two outs in the seventh. Banister decided to turn Lowrie around to bat right-handed, bringing in left-hander Jake Diekman. Lowrie hit better against right-handers than lefties last year, .283 to .258, but this time drove in two runs with a double off the right-field wall.
"That's on me," Banister said. "I wanted to turn Lowrie around and make him hit right-handed. When we looked at the matchups, one of the matchups we felt good about was the Diekman-Lowrie matchup. That was on me."
"The guy defines a competitor. He's obviously a jovial guy, he's got nothing to lose, but when he goes out there, he's determined, and he's going to come after you. I always love facing guys like that, because it's more of a chess match than anything else." -- Lowrie, on Rangers starter Bartolo Colon, who allowed one run in six innings in his Rangers debut.
Left-hander Cole Hamels lost both his starts against the A's last season and will try to reverse that trend at 9:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday. Hamels is also trying to rebound from an Opening Day loss to the Astros.
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