ARLINGTON -- The Rangers had much to be frustrated about after their four-game winning streak came to an end in a 3-2 loss to the Twins on Monday night.There were scoring opportunities that were wasted early in the game and a failure to mount any offense in the final five
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers had much to be frustrated about after their four-game winning streak came to an end in a 3-2 loss to the Twins on Monday night.
There were scoring opportunities that were wasted early in the game and a failure to mount any offense in the final five innings. There was Martin Perez's three-walk meltdown in the fifth.
Then there was manager Jeff Banister getting thrown out in the ninth inning by home-plate umpire Alfonso Marquez after Elvis Andrus was called out on strikes. Suffice to say, the heated discussion that took place covered other pitches that were thrown well before the ninth.
"You guys watched the game; you have the monitor," Banister said. "You can assess where some of the frustration was at. The strike zone is the strike zone. A strike is a strike and a ball is a ball."
Offensively, the Rangers had a couple of key at-bats early when they struck out looking in spots they could have done some serious damage against Twins starter Phil Hughes. One was in the first inning, when Nomar Mazara took a third strike while Shin-Soo Choo was running on a full-count pitch. Choo was thrown out by catcher Chris Gimenez to complete the inning-ending double play.
Even Hughes admitted it was a big moment.
"You get a call on a borderline pitch in the first inning for a strike-'em-out-throw-'em-out, it was big there," Hughes said. "You go from a spot where it could have been first and second and one out to being out of that inning. There were a couple big spots in that game that certainly could have gone differently."
The Rangers led 2-0 in the fourth when Elvis Andrus and Joey Gallo pulled off a double steal that put runners on second and third with one out. But Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy took a third strike he didn't agree with and Jurickson Profar grounded out to end the inning.
Perez needed some help in the fifth when he walked Kennys Vargas and Chris Gimenez with one out and Byron Buxton with two outs to load the bases. The Rangers thought Perez had Gimenez and Buxton struck out with high fastballs that weren't called.
"They didn't swing at the pitch I wanted them to swing at," Perez said. "I threw the pitch [where I wanted it], and they never swung. I don't know what they were looking for, but that's part of the game."
James Dozier followed with a three-run double that proved to be the deciding blow. The Rangers were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position through four innings and managed two singles in the final five.
"I don't like to make excuses, but all we ask is for consistency," Lucroy said. "And I felt like from behind the plate, if we had the same zone, they don't score those runs. You guys could all see on TV, I don't have to go much farther than that. I felt like the zone was very inconsistent."
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.