ARLINGTON -- The Rangers just finished their first home series and were missing two things they normally can count on in these parts: fans and offense.
They can’t do anything about the lack of fans. But the lack of run production needs to be addressed quickly in this 60-game sprint. Joey Gallo hit the first home run ever at Globe Life Field, but it wasn’t enough for the Rangers in a 5-2 loss to the Rockies on Sunday afternoon.
The Rangers also lost starter Corey Kluber, who left after one inning with tightness in his right shoulder. Kluber, who was replaced by Joe Palumbo, will undergo further examination on Monday.
The Rangers wound up losing two of three to Colorado and scored just five runs in the series. Rockies shortstop Trevor Story, who played high school ball in nearby Irving, did some real damage, hitting two home runs that drove in three.
After three games, the Rangers are hitting .176/.276/.283 with three doubles, two triples and just the one home run. The Rangers won, 1-0, on Friday and lost, 3-2, on Saturday. This is the first time in club history that they have scored two runs or less in the first three games of the season.
“I felt like we got plenty of at-bats in Summer Camp,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “Things have been a little bit different from what we expect from some of these guys. Obviously, we have to be better offensively to have a chance. I trust our guys and make adjustments. Got a new game two days from now and have to be better offensively."
The Rangers took a 2-0 lead against Rockies starter Kyle Freeland, starting with Gallo’s solo shot to lead off the second. Texas added another in the third on a double by Rob Refsnyder, a bunt single by Elvis Andrus and an RBI single by Nick Solak.
“We were definitely applying pressure to [Freeland],” Solak said. “I think we’re close. We just haven’t been able to come up with the big hit, but we’re really close.”
The Rangers had just one hit the rest of the game. Danny Santana, batting in the No. 3 spot, had a rough day, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a groundout into a double play. He was 1-for-13 in the series. But Andrus, Todd Frazier and Rougned Odor are all hitting under .200 after the first three games.
“It goes for all of our guys: Unless they have had multiple years of a track record, I am going to put the best guys in the lineup I think can win the game,” Woodward said. “I’d like to ride it out for a while and see how guys do, but at the same time, we have a 60-game season. We have to see production, and all the guys know it.”
Gallo said the Rangers may be pressing too much early in the season, knowing how much is riding on each game. Getting adjusted to the new ballpark may also be a factor.
“We have guys on base, guys in scoring position, just not executing,” Gallo said. “Both these games we lost could have gone either way. We could easily be 3-0 if we execute in some of those situations. In this ballpark, we can’t rely on the home run like we did before. We have to do those jobs. We haven’t done that yet. Guys [are] pressing because it’s a little shorter season. You want to get off to a good start.”
Palumbo retired the side in order in both the second and third inning, striking out four of six batters faced. But he walked David Dahl to lead off the fourth, and Story immediately followed by tying the game with a two-run homer.
Palumbo then gave up singles to Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado. He did get Daniel Murphy on a grounder back to the mound, but his throw to second base was off target.
The throwing error loaded the bases and, after reliever Jesse Chavez took over, Murphy put the Rockies ahead with a sacrifice fly. Story’s second home run leading off the sixth against reliever Nick Goody made it 4-2. And Colorado catcher Tony Wolters scored Chris Owings with a sacrifice fly in the ninth to make it 5-2.