SAN FRANCISCO — Anyone who was watching for the Texas Rangers on Sunday for the first time this season would have no idea that they are a struggling ballclub.
They pitched. They played quality defense. They got timely hitting.
That’s the winning formula for any team, and the Rangers mastered it in April but haven’t solved it with much consistency since.Yet on a day when they played at their best, another injury kept it from being a perfect day at AT&T Park.
Robbie Ross allowed one hit in four innings, and Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton all churned out key hits as the Rangers blanked San Francisco 5-0 to clinch the three-game series and salvage a 4-6 record on their 10-game road trip.
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But Alexi Ogando could be headed to the disabled list after suffering a strained right groin while running the bases in the fourth inning. He had worked three perfect innings in his first start of the season, but didn’t sound optimistic about his immediate future.
“I don’t know the extent of the damage, but right now it doesn’t feel well,” said Ogando, who will be evaluated today by Dr. Keith Meister. “I feel bad the way we need pitching, the state we’re in, but it’s the kind of thing that happens in baseball.”
Ogando was starting for Derek Holland, who went on the 15-day DL on Thursday with left shoulder fatigue. Neftali Feliz (sprained right elbow) has been out for nearly three weeks.
Ross (6-0) could very well be the next option in that spot Saturday after turning in the longest relief appearance of his career and the longest by a Rangers reliever this season. He threw 45, also a career-high for the rookie.
“I’m here to do whatever they want me to do” Ross said. “I’ll just try to do the best I can in whatever situation they want me to come into.”
Roy Oswalt doesn’t appear to be an option. He is scheduled to make his third minor league start Tuesday at Midland, and would be on only three days’ rest Saturday.
Top prospect Martin Perez is on Ogando’s schedule, but he struggled again for Triple A Round Rock. Left-hander Michael Kirkman could also be an option, if nothing else than to reinforce the bullpen if Ross goes to the rotation.
“We’ve just go to wait until he sees the doctor to see the extent of it,” manager Ron Washington said. “We do have contingencies.”
Ogando was still in the game when Elvis Andrus tripled with one out in the third against two-time National League Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum (2-7). Hamilton followed but hit a sharp liner at second baseman Ryan Theriot before Beltre dumped a double into the left-field corner.
Ogando was trying to sacrifice runners to second and third in the fourth when his bunt squirted between Lincecum and third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Sniffing a hit, Ogando picked up his pace and felt the groin yank.
After a delay to remove Ogando, Kinsler dropped the first pitch into left field for a two-run double and a 3-0 Rangers lead. Hamilton’s double, to right field, drove in two more with two outs in the sixth.
The Rangers entered the game hitting only .246 on the trip with runners in scoring position, but pushed that to .260 by going 4 for 12 Sunday.
“It was big,” Beltre said. “Lately we’ve been having trouble getting the lead early. We know when we do that we play better and our pitching staff is more confident.”
The Giants didn’t collect their first hit until former White Settlement Brewer star Aubrey Huff dropped a double inside the left-field line with one out in the sixth. The Giants finished with three hits.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760