Rangers can't help Wolf in terrific emergency outing
Kinsler's sixth-inning homer provides only offense for struggling lineup
BALTIMORE -- The Rangers won the first two of a four-game series against a very good team in their own ballpark. But then their offense flatlined in the final two games against the Orioles, and the Rangers left Baltimore on Thursday night with a disappointing split.
"We're a tough team too, one of the best in the big leagues," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "To split after winning the first two games is not the way we wanted to go."
But that's what happened after the Rangers' offense produced a combined two runs in the final two games of the series. Miguel Gonzalez and three relievers did the trick on Thursday night, pitching the Orioles to a 3-1 victory over the Rangers at Camden Yards.
The lack of offense left starter Ross Wolf taking the loss despite allowing just two runs over six innings while filling in for Yu Darvish. Wolf allowed three hits, but two of them were home runs.
"There was some good pitching on both sides," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "There weren't a lot of opportunities, but they took advantage of the ones they had. They beat us. Last night, they beat us pretty good. Tonight, we had our chances and didn't get it done."
The Rangers had 26 hits and 16 runs in the first two games of the series and just 11 hits and two runs in the final two. They were also 11-for-21 with runners in scoring position in the first two games and 0-for-8 in the final two games. This is only the second time this season the Rangers have scored one or fewer runs in at least two consecutive games.
Chris Davis hit the first home run for the Orioles, smashing a 2-1 changeup into the right-center bleachers with one out in the second. The home run was the 34th for Davis, and it also snapped an 0-for-17 slump for him.
"He's leading the big leagues in home runs and right now he's locked in," Wolf said. "I thought our whole pitching staff did a good job pitching to him. He did minimal damage. I left a changeup in the middle of the plate."
Brian Roberts then made it 2-0 with a home run to lead off the third. It was only the second of the season for him.
That was it off Wolf. He allowed just a walk and a single against the next 12 hitters, and both were erased on double plays. Wolf was done after six innings, having thrown just 72 pitches. He is now 1-2 with a 2.14 ERA in two starts and 10 relief appearances since being called up on May 22.
"I was very happy with him," Washington said. "He did his job and kept us in the ballgame. That's all you can ask of him. We really needed him tonight and he did what we needed him to do."
Gonzalez gave up his only run when Kinsler hit his ninth home run to lead off the sixth. Gonzalez went 6 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out four.
"He's been pretty consistent and that's all we're asking," Showalter said. "It's asking a lot. Going through Major League lineups, especially one like Texas' is difficult. That's why not many people can do it."
Gonzalez left with a 2-1 lead, and the Rangers had a chance to tie it in the eighth after Leonys Martin led off with a single against reliever Troy Patton. Right-hander Darren O'Day then replaced Patton to face Kinsler and before he threw a pitch, Martin advanced to second when Davis couldn't handle a pickoff throw at first base.
O'Day didn't let him get any farther. Kinsler was thrown out after hitting a ball into the dirt that died right in front of home plate. O'Day then retired Elvis Andrus on a popout and Nelson Cruz flied to right to end the inning.
"All you want is an opportunity, and we had it," Washington said. "We just couldn't cash it in. I'll take my chances with my 1-2-3 guys every night of the week. You just have to give credit to O'Day. He did what he had to do."
Washington said he did not consider having Kinsler bunt Martin to third.
"I had Kinsler at the plate and the only run we had, he hit the ball out of the ballpark," Washington said. "I wasn't going to bunt there. I was going to give him a shot."