This isn’t what most expected to see from the Texas Rangers. They were coming off a successful road trip, including a three-game sweep at Oakland, and had another chance to separate themselves from the reigning division champs.
But the Rangers responded with their worst baseball to date.
The starters didn’t reach the five-inning mark in any game, the offense didn’t click and things spiraled completely out of hand in the series finale.
The Rangers committed careless errors, heard boos from their home crowd and departed Globe Life Park for a much-needed off day after a 12-1 loss on Wednesday night.
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“That was a rough series,” Mitch Moreland said. “It definitely didn’t go the way we wanted. It just wasn’t a good series for us.”
Oakland avenged the three-game sweep from last week in impressive fashion, outscoring Texas 25-4 in the series. In their sweep, the Rangers outscored the A’s only 12-7.
The Rangers had not been swept since the A’s did it last Sept. 13-15.
Asked if it would be tough to move on from the sweep, shortstop Elvis Andrus said: “When you lose that way, that many errors and not playing the way we’d been playing, it is going to be tough. But you have to move forward and keep going forward.”
The night started off all right for the Rangers. Robbie Ross opened the game with a 13-pitch scoreless inning that should have been a nine-pitch inning, but Andrus airmailed his throw to first base on a routine grounder by Josh Donaldson with two outs.
That wild throw proved to foreshadow what would come.
The A’s pounced on Ross and the Rangers’ mistakes in the third inning. Oakland had already scored three runs on five consecutive hits when Andrus booted another ball on a grounder by Alberto Callaspo that could have been an inning-ending double play.
“Little League error,” Andrus said. “If I see that a couple weeks from now, I’m just going to laugh at myself. It’s a tough one, but turn the page. That’s all you can do.”
Manager Ron Washington thought if that play would have been made, the Rangers would have been within striking distance and the game might have turned out differently. Instead, the A’s scored a run on Andrus’ error and three more to take a commanding 7-0 lead. Ross also needed 43 pitches to get through the inning.
It unraveled more in the fourth as Ross returned rather quickly after the offense went down in order in the bottom of the third.
With one out and runners at second and third, Adrian Beltre committed a throwing error on a grounder by Derek Norris to gift another run to the A’s. They scored once more on the play, too, on a second throwing error by Alex Rios.
The four errors on the night were a season high for the Rangers.
Ross couldn’t get out of the inning after that, and Alexi Ogando allowed one of his inherited runners to score as the A’s extended their lead to 10-0.
“It snowballed on me quick,” Ross said. “I can take away from it that there are things to work on and get ready for the next start. This is one of those games you want to forget about it and move on.”
That would be good, as Ross earned a dubious distinction. He was charged with 10 runs, six earned, over 3 1/3 innings. It marked only the 15th time a Rangers pitcher has allowed 10 or more runs.
He wasn’t alone in earning low marks against the A’s. Yu Darvish had the shortest outing of his career in the series opener, and Martin Perez allowed a career high in runs the following night.
Each starter in the series allowed at least four runs and lasted less than five innings, the first time that’s happened since Aug. 12-14, 2008, at Boston. Scott Feldman, Luis Mendoza and Tommy Hunter were the Rangers starters in that series.
The offense struggled just as much. Rangers hitters were shut out in the series opener and only avoided a shutout in the finale in the eighth inning when Leonys Martin singled and scored on a double by Josh Wilson.
“They beat us,” manager Ron Washington said. “Beat us soundly.”