DENVER — The charter flight to Love Field couldn’t have left the Mile High City soon enough for the Texas Rangers, whose two-day stop at Coors Field was about as lousy as it could have been.
Well, at least it didn’t snow.
Colorado blanketed the Rangers’ pitching staff with 21 more hits Tuesday, and the Rangers’ offense could find none of the same comforts at baseball’s premier hitter’s paradise in a 12-1 loss.
Left-hander Robbie Ross allowed six runs on 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings, and right-hander Alexi Ogando allowed four more in the sixth as he continues to struggle out of the bullpen.
The Rockies beat the Rangers by a combined score of 20-3 and outhit them 34-17 en route to quick and easy sweep. The teams will play again Wednesday and Thursday at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
“When Ogando came in, they got every kind of hit you could possibly get,” manager Ron Washington said. “But hits are hits. Hopefully we can get back to Texas and some of those hits that fell in because our depth out there, we can turn into outs and we can stay in the ballgame.
“We’re looking forward to going home and see if we can get some offense going also.”
The Rangers’ best pitcher wasn’t a pitcher. It was designated hitter Mitch Moreland, who collected a pinch-hit single in the eighth and stayed in for his first pitching appearance since 2008 at Class A Clinton.
Moreland, a left-handed closer at Mississippi State, worked the club’s only 1-2-3 inning by using two different fastballs and a changeup. His first pitch was clocked at 94 mph.
“I’ve pitched in the past. I didn’t want to go out there and get hit,” said Moreland, whose shoulder and elbow felt fine afterward. “I wasn’t really going to take it easy. I had fun with it. It’s always been a dream of mine.”
The Rangers actually led 1-0 after Adrian Beltre hit his first homer of the season with two outs in the first. Charlie Blackmon had a quick answer for the Rockies, with a homer of his own on the second pitch from Ross, and the Rockies added another run for a 2-1 lead.
It was 4-1 when Blackmon collected a one-out RBI double in the sixth to chase Ross, but the Rockies were just getting started. After a successful challenge on a call at first for the second out, the Rangers saw Ogando allow the next seven batters to reach as the score jumped from 5-1 to 10-1.
Six collected hits. More than half were weakly hit and perfectly placed. Ross (1-3) experienced the same kind of bad luck as outfielders who had to play deep saw multiple bloopers fall in.
“Those guys can freakin’ hit,” said Ross, who allowed 10 runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings in his last start. “They’re all great hitters. I tried to go out there and battled with them. I missed locations here and there, and they hit some balls that were good pitches and just landed in spots where we couldn’t get to them.”
The Rangers’ hitters, meanwhile, couldn’t solve Juan Nicasio or any of the Rockies’ relievers. When they did produce a hit, a double play seemed to be right around the corner.
“We didn’t do very good offensively,” Washington said. “We couldn’t string anything together. We’ve just got to get back home and get back on track.”