The postgame news conference with manager Ron Washington was delayed late Sunday afternoon, and the clubhouse opened well after the mandatory 10-minute cooling off period.
Those are sure-fire signs, along with a six-game losing streak, that a team meeting had been called.
“I spoke to them, and the message is none of anybody’s business in this room,” Washington said once he did appear in the interview room. “I don’t mean to be disrespectful.”
But the Texas Rangers’ six-game slide has been very public business and at times very disrespectful. They were an out away from a second shutout in three games, but instead lost 7-2 to Toronto to cap a four-game sweep at Rangers Ballpark.
The Blue Jays outscored the Rangers 24-4 in the series, the Rangers’ first four-game home sweep since 2010, and the Rangers have been outscored 34-8 during the six consecutive losses.
That’s the longest losing streak on one homestand since 1997 and the longest streak overall since 2010. The Rangers are 1-6 on this 11-game homestand, the longest of the season, and first-place Oakland will be in town for the final four games.
It was time for the manager to speak.
“He doesn’t want to see no energy on the field,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said.
“Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. You’re going to get funky during a season, and you’re going to slump. That’s just temporary. Every team and every player goes through that. You need to stay out there as a man and play hard, and for sure you’re going to get out of there and start winning again.”
Chien-Ming Wang tossed seven scoreless innings, and three Toronto players swatted home runs as the Blue Jays rolled to the Father’s Day victory.
Wang, twice a 19-game winner with the Yankees but essentially picked up by Toronto off the pitching scrap heap last week, scattered six singles and a double.
The Rangers’ best chance came in the fourth inning, when Adrian Beltre reached third with one out. But Nelson Cruz’s sharp liner was snagged by a diving Edwin Encarnacion at third base, and David Murphy flied out to left field.
Andrus collected the lone hit in eight tries with a runner in scoring position, an infield single with two outs in the ninth that prevented the shutout. Ian Kinsler followed with a bases-loaded walk, and Beltre flied out deep to left field to end the game and to leave the Rangers 2 for 24 in the series with runners in scoring position.
“I love the energy we came out with today, but it just didn’t work out for us,” left fielder Murphy said.
J.P. Arencibia and Colby Rasmus hit home runs against Derek Holland, who allowed four runs and 10 hits in six-plus innings. The Arencibia homer made it 2-0 in the second, and Rasmus went deep in the fourth inning for a third straight day with a solo shot that caught the foul pole.
“I thought I had J.P. fooled, and on Colby it was a good pitch and he got it,” said Holland (5-4).
Kyle McClellan offered no relief after taking over for Holland in the seventh following a leadoff double by Melky Cabrera. Jose Bautista collected an RBI single, Encarnacion walked, and Adam Lind launched a homer into the Rangers’ bullpen.
The Rangers became one of three teams this season to score two or fewer runs in six straight games, joining Houston and Miami. Those are the two of the three worst teams in the majors.
But Murphy said that the Rangers aren’t frustrated, and Andrus didn’t want to use that F-word.
“I think that’s a bad word,” Andrus said. “You want to stay positive.”
Said Washington: “That’s a team that’s proven how tough they are. But we’re being challenged. But we’re mentally tough enough to make it through the challenge, and we’ll make it through the challenge.”