ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' inability to come through with runners in scoring position has left them in the same position the Blue Jays were in last year.Texas went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base during a 5-3 loss to Toronto in Game 2 of
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' inability to come through with runners in scoring position has left them in the same position the Blue Jays were in last year.
Texas went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and left 13 runners on base during a 5-3 loss to Toronto in Game 2 of the American League Division Series on Friday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers now face a 2-0 series deficit, becoming the 54th team to lose the first two games of a best-of-five LDS. Of the previous 53, only seven times has a team come back to win three straight and advance to the League Championship Series. The Blue Jays did it to the Rangers last year after losing the first two in Toronto.
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"Yeah, I mean, we are up against it," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We've got to win three in a row. We were on the other side last year. We've been in situations where we won three games in a row before. We've got to start with one."
That one is Game 3, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CT at Rogers Centre on Sunday, and it will be broadcast on TBS in the United States and Sportsnet (English) and TVA (French) in Canada.
"It's definitely not a spot you want to be in," first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "But that's where we are with our backs against the wall. It's a do-or-die game. We've got to be ready to get it going and be ready to go on Sunday."
The Rangers are the third team in Major League postseason history to have as many as 18 at-bats with runners in scoring position and two or fewer hits, and the only one to do it in just nine innings. The Braves were 1-for-18 in a 17-inning loss to the Astros in the 2005 NLDS, and the Indians were 2-for-18 in an 11-inning win in the 2007 ALDS against the Yankees.
Texas' struggles with men on base were in sharp contrast to its regular-season performance in such situations. The Rangers were one of MLB's most successful teams in big spots, ranking third in batting average (.277) and seventh in OPS (.774) with runners in scoring position. In situations defined by Baseball-Reference.com as "late and close," they ranked second in average (.271) and first in OPS (.795). That's one reason Texas set an MLB record for winning percentage in one-run games this season by going 36-11 (.766).
The Blue Jays did not have an at-bat with a runner in scoring position, with all five of their runs coming on four home runs off starter Yu Darvish. The Rangers had at least one runner in scoring position in every inning except the fifth, when they were set down in order for the only time.
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"We've got to find a way," third baseman Adrián Beltré said. "I think everybody's trying. They did their homework. We've got the right approach. We just have to find a way to get hits. We need a fly ball, get a fly ball. It's baseball. Hopefully we can forget about this one and get the next one."
The Rangers had 49 comeback wins this season, most in the Majors, and threatened to pull off another one on Friday. They trailed, 5-1, before scoring two runs in the eighth inning. Beltre led off the ninth inning with a double -- after Ian Desmond and Moreland did the same in the previous two innings -- but Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna struck out Rougned Odor, retired Jonathan Lucroy on a popup and got Moreland on a fly to center to end the game.
"They've got a great team over there," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "You don't lead the American League [with the best record], powerhouse league ... you don't luck into that. They made a big run at us ... big hit, and that might be the other result."
The Rangers didn't get the big hit and are now 1-11 at home over seven Division Series in club history. They are 9-17 overall, and in those nine wins, they are hitting a combined .310 with runners in scoring position. In the 17 losses, they are hitting .099 (11-for-111) in those same situations.
"We are swinging the bats, we just need to drive in some runs," said Desmond, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. "Hopefully we can break through on Sunday. We have come back a lot this year. We have a good team. We believe in each other and are going to keep fighting."
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.