Rangers' offense lacks muscle in loss to Blue Jays
Texas manages eight singles; Toronto scores go-ahead run in eighth
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers honored all-time hits leader Michael Young before Saturday's game against the Blue Jays. They should have handed him a uniform and a bat.
"I was going to tell him we need a little help here," third baseman Adrian Beltre. "We could use him."
That's getting more obvious by the game. The Rangers managed just eight singles on Saturday and the lack of muscle proved the difference in a 4-2 loss to the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays also had just eight hits, but that included four doubles and a home run from Jose Bautista.
Reliever Alexi Ogando also had to leave the game when he took a grounder off his bare right hand. He will be re-evaluated on Sunday.
The loss was the Rangers' fourth straight and their 15th in their last 21 games. They are three games under .500 and seven games behind the Athletics in the American League West. The Rangers have also won just three of their last 12 games and all by shutout. They haven't won a game in which the opposition scored since a 14-3 victory over the Angels on May 4.
The Rangers have a .346 slugging percentage since April 24, the second lowest in the Major Leagues. Only the Braves, with a .331 slugging percentage since that date, are lower.
"I can't describe it," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "We're going through a little slump collectively, the team. It's not the first time this happened to our team. It happened the last couple years, 2011, and we'll find a way how to get out. Obviously we don't want to go through a stretch like this but it is happening and we hope that we can fix that.
"Our pitching staff needs some support. They've been pitching really well last couple games and there's nothing to show for it. It's something that as a team you have to deal with it and find a way how to get out of it."
The Rangers have had enough problems offensively and now they are without Prince Fielder for at least a couple of days with a herniated disc in his neck.
"It's huge," Beltre said. "Obviously he's a big part of the lineup and we'll lose him for a couple days and not having him today for the first time -- we'll miss him. But at the same time we have other guys that should be doing better ... myself, I need to be hitting better. There's no excuse there ... I've got to start doing better and I think the struggle the team is going through is mainly because of me."
Beltre is hardly the only one.
"You just have to play your way out of it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "You have to take advantage of your opportunities and good things will happen. We took advantage of a couple opportunities tonight but we had many more and just didn't get it done. You just keep playing and when these opportunities present themselves, somebody has to get it done."
The Rangers did battle a little more offensively against Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle than they did on Friday night against right-hander Drew Hutchison. They just could have used a couple of extra base hits at the right time like the Blue Jays. The Rangers haven't had an extra base hit since the seventh inning on Wednesday against the Astros.
"We're just in a rut," first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "We're trying to get something going and we haven't had a whole lot of luck. We have to keep going out there and grinding out at-bats and get this thing turned around. We're too good not to."
Starter Robbie Ross lasted just 4 1/3 innings, the eighth time in the last 18 games a Rangers starter has failed to pitch at least five. Ross gave up three hits, walked four and threw 91 pitches. But he gave up just one run -- a home run by Jose Bautista in the first inning -- and left with the game tied because of a third-inning RBI single by Michael Choice.
"The first few innings he would get two outs quickly but couldn't put the third one away," Washington said. "He'd get erratic with his command. Still it was an improvement."
The Blue Jays were able to get to the Rangers' bullpen. Aaron Poreda gave up a run in the seventh as Anthony Gose doubled, stole third and scored on Melky Cabrera's grounder. The Rangers tied it in the bottom of the seventh on three straight two-out singles from Robinson Chirinos, Leonys Martin and Luis Sardinas.
But the Blue Jays were able to go back in front in the eighth on doubles by Kevin Pillar and Jose Reyes off Neal Cotts. They added an unearned run in the ninth after Moreland dropped a relay throw from second on a potential double play.
"I just missed it," Moreland said.
The Rangers are missing a lot right now, especially on offense.