There was no magic for the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.
The day began with the potential of a champagne-soaked Rangers clubhouse at Globe Life Park but instead ended with an uneventful 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
The Houston Astros didn’t cooperate earlier in the day by beating the Oakland Athletics. An Astros loss would have set up an American League West clinching opportunity for the Rangers Wednesday night.
Now, the Rangers will have to wait until at least Friday night in Oakland for another chance. The club begins their last three-game road trip Friday. The Astros, who trail the Rangers by 8 1/2 games in the West, open a four-game series against the Angels Thursday night in Houston. An Astros loss on Thursday means a Friday night win against the Athletics would finish off the division.
Like I always say, as long as we’re in, I don’t really care if it’s here or in Oakland.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus
“There’s not a letdown when you win series,” said Carlos Beltran, who 2 for 4 with a two-run homer that pulled the Rangers to within 5-4 in the fifth inning Wednesday. “Now we have to move on to Oakland and win the series over there. Sometimes you want things to go your way but at the end of the day we played good baseball. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen but there’s no letdown.”
For starter Derek Holland, it was most certainly another letdown. The left-hander allowed five runs (four earned) on six hits, including a three-run homer by Mike Trout in the fifth that gave the Angels a 5-1 lead.
“I’m definitely frustrated. There’s no way I can say I’m not,” said Holland, who has struggled in his last three starts after three solid outings upon returning from the disabled list on Aug. 23. “Coming out of the ’pen right before the game started, I felt like this was going to be it. I felt really confident with what I had, and then things just slipped away.”
Holland (7-9) pitched well in three starts after his return when he was pitching on four days’ rest until allowing four runs on 10 hits in 4 1/3 at Seattle on Sept. 8. Since then, the rotation has been altered with the inclusion of Colby Lewis also back from the DL. In his last two starts he’s pitched on five and six days’ rest.
I’m definitely frustrated. There’s no way I can say I’m not.
Rangers starter Derek Holland
“I’m not going to get too caught up in this. I’ve got to get ready for the next whatever I’m doing, start or whatever it is,” Holland said. “The main thing is just keep plugging. I’ve got to stay strong and just keep grinding.”
The Rangers had the winning run on base in the ninth after Elvis Andrus doubled with two outs and Jurickson Profar was hit by a pitch. It appeared the Rangers were one more swing from adding to their major league-leading 47 comeback wins.
Carlos Gomez’s hard shot to third, however, was fielded by Yunel Escobar who raced Andrus to third base to end the game. Jered Weaver (12-12) earned the win after allowing four runs on six hits in six innings for the Angels.
“We knew that even if we won this game it was not going to happen,” Andrus said. “I guess it’s Oakland again, like 2010. Like I always say, as long as we’re in, I don’t really care if it’s here or in Oakland.”
The Rangers, while far from pressing, would much prefer to get it over with so that some everyday players can get take a day or two off to rest up for the postseason. Still, as Adrian Beltre suggested, it’s not the only the division title the Rangers are seeking, but the best record in the AL to clinch home-field advantage.
“Until it’s done, it’s not done yet,” he said. “I don’t think anybody is relaxing in here. We all know the teams behind us are not only playing for the division but the wild card, too.
“We want to make sure we do our job and whatever happens on the other side, happens. We might rest one or two guys here or there but it’s not like we’re going to take it easy. We want to make sure we start at home and finish at home.”
Ian Desmond, for instance, got a scheduled night off Wednesday.
“I felt like our guys continued to grind and battle through it,” manager Jeff Banister said. “We had the winning run on first base there in the last [inning]. I feel great about our ballclub and where they’re at.”
Rangers at Athletics
8:35 p.m. Friday, FSSW