Rangers' rally ends on key DP late in defeat

Texas strikes out 10 times vs. Brewers starter Houser

August 11th, 2019

MILWAUKEE -- When the offense is struggling, plays like the Rangers made in the eighth inning on Saturday night can’t happen.

Not when a team is down one run late in a game, the opposing pitcher is struggling and there is a chance for a big inning. But the Rangers wasted a crucial opportunity against Brewers reliever Drew Pomeranz and Milwaukee held on to give Texas a 3-2 loss at Miller Park.

“We had him on the ropes,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said.

The Rangers entered the inning trailing, 3-1, before Shin-Soo Choo’s one-out home run off Pomeranz, who entered the game for a lefty-lefty matchup, made it a one-run game. Pomeranz then walked Danny Santana and Elvis Andrus, putting runners on first and second with Rougned Odor at the plate.

Up 3-1 in the count, Odor swung and missed to make it full. On the full-count delivery, Santana and Andrus were on the move from first and second base. Santana had third base stolen easily, but Andrus did not get a good jump. Odor struck out swinging on a pitch above the strike zone, and Brewers catcher Yasmani Grandal threw out Andrus easily at second base to end the inning.

“Yeah, I didn't really want him running there,” Woodward said. “But I think Santana felt like he had the base stolen. On the back end, you got to make sure you're going to make it. Like I said, our guys have been aggressive on the bases all year, so I'm not going to fault 'em on that. It just sucks in that situation; we had them on the ropes and we kind of let them off the hook and gave them a chance to get out of the inning, and they did.”

Brewers manager Craig Counsell said he wasn’t surprised the Rangers were running even in that situation.

“They're aggressive," Counsell said. "They've been aggressive all year. That's what they do. They've got a lot of stolen bases; they stole a lot of bases [on Friday] night. So that's who they are."

The Rangers are also a team that is struggling right now with runners in scoring position. Odor’s strikeout left the Rangers 0-for-4 on the night in those situations and they are 0-for-18 over the first five games of what is now a 1-4 road trip.

“This game’s really hard,” Choo said. “You can’t change a game with one person. Everybody, one through nine hitters, just try to fix the small things. Don’t try to do something to do damage. You don’t want to help the pitchers. If you swing at strikes, you have a better chance to get a hit. If that’s the mentality that everybody has, maybe we have a better chance to get on base.”

The Rangers really struggled through the first five innings against Brewers starter Adrian Houser, managing just one infield single. Milwaukee built a 3-0 lead against starter Pedro Payano and Brett Martin, and Texas didn’t get a ball out of the infield until Santana’s home run in the sixth.

Three scoreless innings by reliever Taylor Guerrieri kept the Rangers in striking distance going into the eighth inning, when Choo homered and their rally was cut short.

“We’ve got to play better,” Woodward said. “Today wasn’t a great game. The first five innings wasn’t our best game. You could make the case it was one of our worst. But we fought back and gave ourselves a chance.”

The Rangers, now back to .500 on the season at 58-58, send All-Star left-hander Mike Minor to the mound for Sunday’s finale, hoping he can snap Texas' four-game losing streak. But Woodward said it will take more than that.

“We have to finish off innings, finish off at-bats, we have to finish off plays, we have to finish off pitches,” Woodward said. “When we play fearless and we play with intent, we do those things. But when your backs are to the wall and there are some negative feelings, we have to do a better job of finishing off plays and finishing off games.”