Rangers’ strong homestand ends with ugly 16-2 loss

Posted Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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A successful homestand ended with a dud for the Texas Rangers.

The pitching staff gave up a season-high in runs and hits. The offense managed only two hits. A five-game winning streak ended.

The Chicago White Sox found their offensive stroke again in a 16-2 rout of the Rangers on Sunday afternoon.

“They got us pretty good,” outfielder Alex Rios said. “It’s one of those games. There’s nothing to worry about. You just go back at it tomorrow.”

The Rangers departed for the Bay Area afterward for their first series against the reigning American League West champion Oakland Athletics, but were in good spirits.

Despite the Sunday pounding, the Rangers went 7-3 on the homestand with series wins over Houston, Seattle and the White Sox. They had impressive pitching performances, and the lineup produced more than it had been.

As shortstop Elvis Andrus said, “Besides today’s game, we had a great homestand. It was just a weird game today.”

Weird certainly describes how the game unfolded. As people say, the beauty of baseball is seeing something new every day.

On this day, the winning pitcher threw more balls than strikes and the losing pitcher threw about 75 percent strikes. Offensively, the White Sox entered with 10 combined runs their past five games, while the Rangers had scored 34.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura also called it “just a weird game.”

The White Sox scored first in the third inning on a two-run homer by Jordan Danks off Rangers starter Robbie Ross.

Texas got one of those runs back in its half of the third on a sacrifice fly by Shin-Soo Choo, and tied it at 2-2 when Andrus scored on a wild pitch by Chicago starter Erik Johnson.

But the game got away from the Rangers the next two innings, with the White Sox scoring three runs each in the fifth and sixth.

In the fifth, Rangers third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff couldn’t turn a potential inning-ending double play on a grounder by Marcus Semien, air-mailing his throw into right field. That opened the floodgates, and Jose Abreu did the most damage two batters later with a two-run shot off Ross.

All three runs in the fifth were unearned.

“I’ve just got to bear down there and get some outs,” Ross said. “I left a pitch up to Abreu and he hit it. That happens.”

Ross was charged with two of the three runs in the sixth, too. He exited with runners at first and second after getting a favorable strike-three call against Alejandro De Aza on a check swing.

But reliever Shawn Tolleson allowed both runners to score on Semien’s three-run triple.

Ross, who threw 65 of his 86 pitches for strikes, allowed seven runs (four earned) on seven hits with no walks and a career-high eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings.

“It just wasn’t his day,” manager Ron Washington said. “Or our day. Today was the White Sox’s day. They hit balls, they hit bags, they found holes.”

The ninth inning proved that. The White Sox scored seven more runs off Rangers reliever Hector Noesi, becoming the team with the most runs (16) and hits (18) against the Rangers this season.

They also quieted what had been a red-hot offense.

The Rangers couldn’t figure out Johnson, even though he threw more balls (44) than strikes (43) over five innings of one-hit ball.

Johnson issued a leadoff walk in each of the first four innings, but the Rangers scored only twice.

“He was effectively wild,” Washington said. “He threw enough bad pitches and then threw enough good pitches that we just couldn’t do anything with it.”

It was a forgettable day for every Rangers player but one. Rookie Luis Sardinas made his big-league debut at shortstop in the eighth inning and then reached on an infield single in his first at-bat.

“That was big for me, very exciting,” said Sardinas, a 20-year-old who became the youngest player to appear in the majors this season.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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